Chumash tribe plans to resubmit marine sanctuary nomination following NOAA rejection

Mar 17, 2015

Credit NOAA

There are plans to move forward with an effort to create a national marine sanctuary in the waters off the coastlines of San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties, following a federal rejection of the nomination earlier this month.

The Northern Chumash Tribal Council would like to preserve the area sandwiched between the Monterey Bay and Channel Islands sanctuaries. The proposed area would be called the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

Dr. Lisa Wooninck is NOAA's Policy Coordinator for the West Coast Region. She says the proposal NOAA received from the tribe was incomplete for their purposes.

"We determined that there wasn't sufficient information for us to make an in-depth determination later related to the management criteria of the threats in the area, how the National Marine Sanctuary would provide unique conservation and management values, and other management considerations that we lay out in our nomination process," said Wooninck.

Fred Collins is the tribal administrator and says it shouldn't take much effort to collect the documents NOAA needs to reconsider the nomination.

"Actually, it's fairly straight forward and fairly simple," said Collins. "It's just more in-depth detailing of a couple of management issues, and we believe that we can cover those area very adequately."

NOAA says this is just the first step in the process and any approval of a national marine sanctuary would take years to complete.