Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

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Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Sanc0815 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library.jpg
Big Sur coastline looking north to Bixby Canyon Bridge. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
MBNMS Davidson Map Update.pdf
Map of the sanctuary
Location California's central coast, United States
Coordinates 36°48′N122°30′W / 36.8°N 122.5°W / 36.8; -122.5 Coordinates: 36°48′N122°30′W / 36.8°N 122.5°W / 36.8; -122.5
Area6,094 sq mi (15,780 km2)
Established1992
Governing body NOAA National Ocean Service
montereybay.noaa.gov
Kelp forests offshore Big Sur, in the MBNMS, 2013 Kelp beds offshore Big Sur, 2013.jpg
Kelp forests offshore Big Sur, in the MBNMS, 2013

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is a US Federally protected marine area offshore of California's Big Sur and central coast. It is the largest US national marine sanctuary and has a shoreline length of 276 miles (444 km) stretching from just north of the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco to Cambria in San Luis Obispo County. Supporting one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, it is home to numerous mammals, seabirds, fishes, invertebrates and plants in a remarkably productive coastal environment. The MBNMS was established in 1992 for the purpose of resource protection, research, education, and public use.

Contents

Description

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is one of the largest of a system of 14 National Marine Sanctuaries administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), within the U.S. Department of Commerce. It stretches from Rocky Point in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, to the town of Cambria in San Luis Obispo County, and encompasses a shoreline length of 276 miles (444 km) and 6,094 square miles (15,783 km2) of ocean surrounding Monterey Bay. Its seaward boundary is an average of 30 miles (48 km) offshore, and shoreward boundary the mean high tide. Its area is 6,094 square statute miles or 4,024 square nautical miles. The deepest point is 10,663 feet (3,250 meters) in the Monterey Submarine Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. The average ocean surface temperature is 55 °F (13 °C).

The sanctuary provides habitat for 36 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, at least 525 species of fish, 4 of turtles, 31 phyla of invertebrates, and more than 450 species of marine algae. [1] Historical sites include 1,276 reported shipwrecks and 718 prehistoric sites. The MBNMS has major programs for research and monitoring, and another for education and outreach. Public recreation activities such as kayaking, SCUBA diving, and surfing are permitted, along with commercial fishing. Oil drilling and seabed mining are banned to protect the sanctuary. [2] The sanctuary provides economic value via ecotourism as well as fishery resources including the Dungeness crab and market squid. [3] Otter trawling has been shown to have significantly negatively impact the benthic invertebrate biodiversity in areas where trawling is less restricted. [4] Despite its protection as a National Marine Sanctuary MPA, a study found microplastic concentrations were higher than the global average, with a higher amount closer to shore. [3]

Visitors centers

A Coastal Discovery Center is located across the Pacific Coast Highway from the Hearst Castle visitor’s center in San Simeon, California near the William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach. [5]

The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center opened on July 23, 2012 [6] at 35 Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz, CA.

Collaborations

MBNMS collaborations include:

Areas with overlapping jurisdiction include (roughly from north to south): [7]

Events and activities

2008 Ocean's Fair at the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon, California Ocean's Fair at the Coastal Discovery Center, San Simeon 2008.jpg
2008 Ocean's Fair at the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon, California

See the MBNMS event calendar for a list of meetings, as well as volunteer events such as Snapshot Day, Urban Watch, First Flush (water quality monitoring programs), and TeamOCEAN (kayaker naturalist program).

The Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) website was launched in 2003 to collect metadata for their various monitoring projects. In 2012, this information was released as an iOS application to allow visitors better access to the over 4,200 photos that have been collected. [8]

History

A Marine Sanctuaries Study Bill was first proposed in 1967, with lobbying efforts by the Sierra Club. The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 authorized the United States Environmental Protection Agency to monitor off-shore dumping. In 1975, the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission recommended a marine sanctuary, and in 1976 Santa Cruz County and Monterey County joined the lobbying effort. In 1983 the Ronald Reagan administration dropped the area for consideration as a sanctuary. [9]

In 1988 congress re-authorized the Sanctuaries Act and proposed a sanctuary in Monterey Bay. However, public hearings, with the memory of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, brought protests demanding a larger size. The first Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released in 1990, and a final management plan in June 1992 proposing the extended area. On September 20, 1992 the MBNMS was authorized by legislation proposed by congressman Leon Panetta. It was the largest federal marine sanctuary. [9] [10]

Management

There have been five Superintendents of the MBNMS since its inception:

  1. Terry Jackson (1992 to 1997): [11] Jackson was a NOAA Corps officer that was assigned to the MBNMS as its first manager in 1992. As a NOAA Corps officer, Jackson's land-based assignment ended in 1997. Over the next year, Jackson hired the first MBNMS staffers. Jackson retired from the NOAA Corps in 1998.
  2. Carol Fairfield (June and July, 1997): A call for Superintendent applicants went out in the spring of 1997. However, that process was ended by the National Marine Sanctuaries Chief, Stephanie Thornton, because she "did not believe any of the current applicants had the skills she was looking for to be the MBNMS Superintendent." [12] The call for applicants was re-advertised, and Carol Fairfield (with the NOAA's NMFS Protected Resources Program) was selected. Fairfield was selected in June and spent her first month at the Sanctuary Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Fairfield was reassigned on July 28, 1997, and Thornton said "Fairfield¹s reassignment is a personnel matter which cannot be discussed in detail." [13]
  3. Joanne Flanders (1997): At the time of Jackson's departure, Joanne Flanders (another NOAA Corps Officer) was Assistant Superintendent. Flanders was appointed Acting Superintendent for about six months.
  4. William J. Douros (1998 to 2006): In January 1998 William J. Douros, who had previously worked for Santa Barbara County became superintendent. [14]
  5. Paul Michel (2007 to Present): In 2006 Douros was promoted to West Coast regional director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Paul Michel, who had worked at the Environmental Protection Agency since 1987, became superintendent. [15]

Management of northern section

Since the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) had been established earlier and had a staff already, the section north of Año Nuevo point near the San Mateo County line was managed by GFNMS from its office in San Francisco. By 1996, Terry Jackson of MBNMS requested to have the management boundaries match the preserve. Ed Ueber of GFNMS saw no reason to change. [16]

Oil and gas reserves

There are oil and gas reserves off the coast, but exploration has not been permitted. In 1982, Interior Secretary James G. Watt proposed opening the Central California coast outer continental shelf to oil and gas exploration. [17] California residents and politicians strongly opposed the proposal and it was defeated. [18] In 1990, President George H. W. Bush used an obscure 1953 law to permanently ban oil and gas development in California's Monterey Bay. In late December 2016, President Obama used the same law to ban oil exploration from Hearst Castle to Point Arena in Mendocino County, California. [19]

In July 2017, under the direction of Executive Order 13795 [20] from President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Commerce began re-evaluating the protected status of the sanctuary, which includes the Davidson Seamount off the coast of Big Sur. The seamount, at 23 nmi (43 km; 26 mi) long, 7 nmi (13 km; 8.1 mi) wide, and 7,480 feet (2,280 m) high, is one of the largest in the world. Opening the area to oil and gas exploration was opposed by many environmentalists and residents. [21]

Related Research Articles

Monterey Bay Large salt water bay in California, USA

Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean located on the coast of the U.S. state of California, south of the San Francisco Bay Area and its major city at the south of the bay, San Jose. San Francisco itself is further north along the coast, by about 75 miles, accessible via Highway 1 and Highway 280.

Año Nuevo State Park State park in California

Año Nuevo State Park is a state park of California, United States, encompassing Año Nuevo Island and Año Nuevo Point, which are known for their pinniped rookeries. Located in San Mateo County, the low, rocky, windswept point juts out into the Pacific Ocean about 55 miles (89 km) south of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve, formerly a separate unit of the California state park system, was merged into Año Nuevo State Park in October 2008. The coastal geographic center, or coastal-midpoint of California is located at the Northern end of this park at N 37°09′58″, W 122°21'40", as the absolute geographic center of California falls at N 37°09′58″, W 119°26′58″W.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a sanctuary off the Pacific coast of Southern California. The National Marine Sanctuary program is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Bolinas Lagoon

Bolinas Lagoon is a tidal estuary, approximately 1,100 acres (4.5 km2) in area, located in the West Marin region of Marin County, California, United States, adjacent to the town of Bolinas. It is a part of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. In 1974, Aubrey Neasham and William Pritchard wrote in support of Bolinas Lagoon as Drake's New Albion landing site.

United States National Marine Sanctuary Zone in US waters designated for special protection

A U.S. National Marine Sanctuary is a zone within United States waters where the marine environment enjoys special protection. The program began in 1972 in response to public concern about the plight of marine ecosystems.

Farallon Islands Group of islands off the coast of California, United States

The Farallon Islands, or Farallones, are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, United States. The islands are also sometimes referred to by mariners as the Devil's Teeth Islands, in reference to the many treacherous underwater shoals in their vicinity. The islands lie 30 miles (48 km) outside the Golden Gate and 20 miles (32 km) south of Point Reyes, and are visible from the mainland on clear days. The islands are part of the City and County of San Francisco. The only inhabited portion of the islands is on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI), where researchers from Point Blue Conservation Science and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stay. The islands are closed to the public.

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary protects the wildlife, habitats, and cultural resources of one of the most diverse and bountiful marine environments in the world, an area of 3,295 square miles off the northern and central California coast. The waters within Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary are part of a nationally significant marine ecosystem, and support an abundance of life, including many threatened or endangered species.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a marine sanctuary located off the coast of California. It protects an area of 1,286 sq mi (3,331 km2) of marine wildlife. The administrative center of the sanctuary is on an offshore granite outcrop 4.5 sq mi (12 km2) by 9.5 sq mi (25 km2), located on the continental shelf off of California. The outcrop is, at its closest, 6 mi (10 km) from the sanctuary itself.

Golden Gate Biosphere Network

The Golden Gate Biosphere Network is an internationally recognized voluntary coalition of federal, state, and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, universities, and private partners within the Golden Gate Biosphere (GGB) region. The Network works towards protecting the biosphere region’s biodiversity and conserving its natural resources to maintain the quality of life for people within the region. The Network has been part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme since 1988 and is part of the US Biosphere Network and EuroMAB. It is recognized by UNESCO due to the significant biodiversity of the region, as well as the Network's efforts to demonstrate and promote a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere.

Elkhorn Slough Body of water in Monterey County, California

Elkhorn Slough is a 7-mile-long (11 km) tidal slough and estuary on Monterey Bay in Monterey County, California. It is California's second largest estuary and the United States' first estuarine sanctuary. The community of Moss Landing and the Moss Landing Power Plant are located at the mouth of the slough on the bay.

Kent Island (California)

Kent Island is a small island in Marin County, California. In 1964 it was proposed for large-scale development including a hotel and marina, but the plan was defeated in 1967. The island is now included in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Davidson Seamount Underwater volcano off the coast of Central California, southwest of Monterey

Davidson Seamount is a seamount located off the coast of Central California, 80 mi (129 km) southwest of Monterey and 75 mi (121 km) west of San Simeon. At 26 mi (42 km) long and 8 mi (13 km) wide, it is one of the largest known seamounts in the world. From base to crest, the seamount is 7,480 ft (2,280 m) tall, yet its summit is still 4,101 ft (1,250 m) below the sea surface. The seamount is biologically diverse, with 237 species and 27 types of deep-sea coral having been identified.

Protected areas of California Protected environmental areas of California, US

According to the California Protected Areas Database (CPAD), in the state of California, United States, there are over 14,000 inventoried protected areas administered by public agencies and non-profits. In addition, there are private conservation areas and other easements. They include almost one-third of California's scenic coastline, including coastal wetlands, estuaries, beaches, and dune systems. The California State Parks system alone has 270 units and covers 1.3 million acres (5,300 km2), with over 280 miles (450 km) of coastline, 625 miles (1,006 km) of lake and river frontage, nearly 18,000 campsites, and 3,000 miles (5,000 km) of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.

Hearst San Simeon State Park

Hearst San Simeon State Park is a state park of California, United States, preserving rocky coast and rare habitats. It is located between Cambria and San Simeon. The 3,409-acre (1,380 ha) park was first established in 1932. The park includes the Santa Rosa Creek Natural Preserve, the San Simeon Natural Preserve and the Pa-nu Cultural Preserve, which were established in 1990.

Asilomar State Marine Reserve

Asilomar State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas (MPAs) located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Lovers Point State Marine Reserve

Lovers Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area

Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of finfish and the commercial take of giant and bull kelp by hand under certain conditions. According to the Frommer's guide, the Marine Gardens area is "renowned for ocean views, flowers, and tide-pool seaweed beds."

Save Our Shores (SOS) is a marine conservation nonprofit dedicated to "fostering a thriving Monterey Bay and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary through clean shores, healthy habitats, and living waters.”

Moss Landing Wildlife Area

Moss Landing Wildlife Area is a California State wildlife preserve on the shore of Elkhorn Slough.

The Blue Silicon Valley is located in the Monterey Bay of California, USA and is part of one of the leading and largest sustainable, marine protected area, research and development regions in the world called the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), which encompasses a shoreline length of 276 miles and more than 6,000 square miles of ocean. Monterey Bay itself is located 30 miles southwest of Silicon Valley and as part of the MBNMS was designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1992, bringing federal protection to the marine area in Northern California stretching from Marin County to Cambria, California. The sanctuary was originally established for the purposes of resource protection, research and development, education and public use and is now the most researched body of water in the world.

References

  1. "MBNMS: Quick Facts: The Sanctuary at a Glance". montereybay.noaa.gov. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
  2. "Overview of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary". montereybay.noaa.gov. Retrieved 2021-03-04.
  3. 1 2 Kashiwabara, Lauren M.; Kahane-Rapport, Shirel R.; King, Chad; DeVogelaere, Marissa; Goldbogen, Jeremy A.; Savoca, Matthew S. (2021-04-01). "Microplastics and microfibers in surface waters of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California". Marine Pollution Bulletin. 165: 112148. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112148. ISSN   0025-326X.
  4. Engel, Jonna; Kvitek, Rikk (December 1998). "Effects of Otter Trawling on a Benthic Community in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary". Conservation Biology. 12 (6): 1204–1214. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.1998.0120061204.x. ISSN   0888-8892.
  5. "Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay". official web site. NOAA. March 31, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  6. "About Sanctuary Exploration Center". Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
  7. Guide to the Central California Marine Protected Areas: Pigeon Point to Point Conception (PDF). California Department of Fish and Game. September 2007. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 13, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  8. King, C; Lonhart, S (2012). ""SeaPhoto:" Central California Marine Life Featured in New Free iPhone, iPad App". In: Steller D, Lobel L, eds. Diving for Science 2012. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 31st Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  9. 1 2 "Milestones in MBNMS History". News from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA. Fall 1997. p. 4. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  10. Leon E. Panetta (Fall 1997). "Monterey Bay Sanctuary-—Our Treasure". News from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA. p. 3. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  11. Terry Jackson (Fall 1997). "From the Captain's Chair". News from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA. p. 2. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  12. Quote from public memo issued by Thornton.
  13. Lisa Ziobro (August 1, 1997). "Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Meeting Minutes". NOAA . Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  14. "New MBNMS Superintendent: William Douros Takes the Helm". News from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA. Spring 1998. p. 5. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  15. "New Superintendent Named for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary". Press Release. NOAA. April 5, 2007. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  16. Michael McCabe (June 21, 1996). "Dispute Over County's Coastal Refuge / Jurisdiction of Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary about to change hands". San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  17. "Big Sur Coast Land Use Plan" (PDF). Monterey County Planning Department. February 11, 1981. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  18. Lindsey, Robert (May 11, 1982). "Many on Coast Fight Oil Lease Move". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2017-10-26. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  19. Parenteau, Patrick (January 2, 2017). "Will Obama's offshore drilling ban be Trumped?". The Conversation. Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  20. "Executive Order 13795—Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy - The American Presidency Project". www.presidency.ucsb.edu.
  21. "California's marine sanctuaries may face new drilling threat". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2017-10-26. Retrieved 2017-10-25.

Further reading