Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: NOAA Releases Draft Management Plan

Written by on January 15, 2011 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law

Yesterday, NOAA released a draft management plan and environmental assessment for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary for public review and comment.

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1994 and spans 3,310 square miles off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.  The sanctuary protects an important upwelling zone that is home to many marine mammals and seabird faunas, several species of kelp and intertidal algae, and thriving invertebrate communities.  The location is also very culturally significant, with over 150 documented historical shipwrecks.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: NOAA

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: NOAA

The plan is based on many years of scientific assessment and public input and includes suggestions for revised goals and objectives, 20 action plans, a plan for implementation based on different funding levels and recommended performance measures.

“The draft management plan is the result of a collaborative effort that involved input from the public, Sanctuary Advisory Council and Intergovernmental Policy Council,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.  “We welcome further public review and comment as we go forward with the important job of managing this special undersea place for future generations to enjoy.”

The draft plan includes six action plans for the priority topics: fulfill treaty trust responsibility; achieve collaborative and coordinated management; conduct collaborative research, assessments and monitoring to support ecosystem-based management; improve ocean literacy; conserve natural resources; and understand the sanctuary’s historical, cultural and socioeconomic significance.

“The new draft plan is a revision to the sanctuary’s original management plan published in 1994,” said George Galasso, acting sanctuary superintendent.  “It identifies actions to be undertaken by sanctuary staff within the next five to 10 years to protect and conserve marine resources in the Olympic Coast.”

Congress requires periodic management plan review for each of the 13 national marine sanctuaries to ensure that they continue to conserve, protect, and enhance their nationally significant living and cultural resources while allowing compatible commercial and recreational activities.

Copyright ©  2011 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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