Ocean Protection, Marine Protected Areas
December 02 2016

Push for Chumash Sanctuary Designation

by Sarah Damron

Last October, Surfrider Foundation and its allies were successful in garnering acceptance for the nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

The nomination was submitted by the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, which has been working on the initiative with the Sierra Club California, the San Luis Obispo Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, and other partner groups. The area proposed for the national marine sanctuary stretches from Santa Rosa Creek in Cambria to Gaviota Creek in Santa Barbara, protecting marine habitat and sacred sites along some 140 miles of coastline.

While being added to the inventory list is a great step forward, it is one step of a larger and longer process. To become a sanctuary, the proposal must now move from the inventory list into the formal designation process. For that to happen, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) must formally decide to designate the sanctuary.  From there, a public process is implemented to decide the scope of protection, analyze resources to be protected, develop draft management plans, and allow for public review of draft documents.  The designation process generally takes several years, but deciding to start the process is step one.

Now, a year later, we are making a big push while President Obama is still in office to move the proposal from the inventory list into the designation process.  Please help us by joining our list of supporters!  This list will be sent to Christina Goldfuss, Managing Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA.