As part of my California Sea Grant fellowship with NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary I’ve been helping with the beginning stages of our Management Plan revision process. Since this is a large, multi-year process for our sanctuary, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what this looks like, and why we’re revising it in the first place. Here, I’ll try to break things down make it a little more digestible!
What is a Management Plan in the first place?
Our sanctuary’s Management Plan encompasses all of the programming and activities NOAA does in the sanctuary and in the surrounding communities. Specific program areas include: research, education, outreach, volunteers, conservation, and enforcement. Effectively, the Management Plan guides the direction of these program areas, and helps ensure that we’re staying on track to meet our goals.
It should be noted that our first mission under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the law that authorizes our program, is protecting the marine resources of the sanctuary. Hence, the Management Plan is organized with this main goal in mind.
Great, your Management Plan helps guide your sanctuary office’s mission. Why revise it?
Any governing doctrine should be periodically reviewed for a number of reasons. Mainly, our office wants to know, are we on track to address the issues in our previous plan (last updated in 2009)? Have we successfully addressed certain issues or are there still gaps to fill? If so, where are they? Have new issues come to light, or are we too focused on outdated topics? We’ve been gathering this information for some time, and recently released our 2016* Condition Report earlier this summer.
With the help of the Condition Report, along with Public Scoping, we are better able to begin the process of revising our Management Plan to meet the needs of the coming years.
*Even though the Condition Report was released in 2019, the data used come from 2016 and before.
Ok, sounds like a lot of work. How can I get involved?
The purpose of the National Marine Sanctuaries is to protect cultural resources of historical significance and areas of special biological concern. Here at CINMS we encourage the use and visitation of the sanctuary and are actively interested in hearing from our constituents and stakeholders. On October 1st we released a Notice of Intent for Public Scoping and will hold this public scoping period open until November 15th. During this time, we hope to gather as many public comments from as many stakeholders as possible!
How can I submit a comment during the public scoping period?
Currently there are two ways you can submit public comments:
Online: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal
Use docket number NOAA–NOS–2019-0110
By mail: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA CINMS UCSB
Ocean Science Edu Bldg 514 Mail Code 6155
Santa Barbara, California 93106
Attn: Management Plan Revision
Some things to consider when submitting public comments
Pike Spector is currently a Research Operations Specialist with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary