NOAA releases Final Management Plan, Final Environmental Assessment, and Final Rule for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

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NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has released the final management plan, final environmental assessment, and a final rule, which includes minor changes to the regulations of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. These updates reflect input from the sanctuary advisory council and the public. 

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary contains extensive kelp forests, a vast underwater canyon, rugged tide pools, tranquil estuaries, and a large offshore seamount, all of which harbor an incredible variety of marine life. In addition to its ecological significance, the sanctuary and its wildlife underpin diverse blue economies in the region. 

The new management plan includes strategies and action plans for conservation and management of the sanctuary’s resources over the coming decade. The regulatory changes will allow additional options for protection or restoration of beaches and other coastal areas. NOAA is also making changes to improve access for motorized personal watercraft users and to reduce disturbances of sensitive resources. The regulations will become effective 30 days after the rulemaking is published in the Federal Register. 

Stretching from Marin County to Cambria, California, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary encompasses a shoreline length of 276 miles and 6,094 square miles of ocean, extending an average distance of 30 miles from shore. At its deepest point, the sanctuary reaches 12,743 feet (more than two miles). It is one of our nation’s largest continental marine sanctuaries, larger than Yellowstone National Park.

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