of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act
Last November, former President Clinton signed the National Marine
Sanctuaries Amendments Act of 2000 (S. 1482), thereby extending
and improving the management of the national marine sanctuary
"This nation prides itself on its conservation ethic, as embodied
in our national parks and refuges," former President Clinton said.
"The 13 marine sanctuaries extend this ethic into the sea, ensuring
a healthy ocean environment for future generations of swimmers
and surfers, fishermen and explorers, teachers and students."
The Act, administered by NOAA's National Ocean Service, relies
on the involvement of local citizens to find the best possible
solutions to the tough challenges communities face in protecting
the ocean environment. The National Marine Sanctuary System currently
comprises 13 sanctuaries around the country, including Hawaii
and American Samoa. In the quarter century since its inception,
the sanctuaries Act has provided a powerful tool for marine resource
protection resulting in the permanent conservation of many invaluable
habitats and maritime artifacts.
Drawing upon this experience, the amended bill refines the Act
in substantive ways that reflect the growth and evolution of the
program. In addition to strengthening the sanctuary system, the
Act provides the following:
- Authorizes $32 million in fiscal year 2001, with levels increasing
by $2 million a year through fiscal year 2005. It also authorizes
$6 million a year in fiscal years 2001 through 2005 to build
the facilities needed to manage these special places.
- Allows for greater protection of the coral reefs off the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands, one of few remaining major coral reefs complexes
affected little by human development. These remote islands are
home to approximately 70% of America's coral reefs, and endangered
monk seals and sea turtles.
- Establishes the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships to recognize
outstanding scholarship, particularly by women and minorities,
in the fields of oceanography, marine biology, and maritime
archeology. The scholarships are named in memory of Dr. Nancy
Foster, a 23-year NOAA employee who worked to expand and strengthen
Each year the President, the House, and the Senate must reach
agreement on annual spending bills for each government agency.
On December 15th, the House and the Senate passed the Fiscal Year
2001 appropriations legislation, which included NOAA's spending
appropriation. The conference agreement includes a total of $32.5
million for the National Marine Sanctuary System, including $3
million for marine sanctuary visitor facilities, and $500K to
support the activities of the Northwest Straits Citizens Advisory
Commission as outlined in the House and Senate reports.