The Sanctuary's Role in Sea Otter Conservation Efforts
by Ellen Faurot-Daniels
Science Director, Friends of the Sea Otter
At the 1992 designation of the Sanctuary, oil and gas drilling within the Sanctuary was banned, as was development of new offshore dredge disposal sites. Both restrictions, seemingly impossible to attain when talks of establishing the Sanctuary began, were the result of a fifteen-year agenda of persistence among Central Coast citizens.
Since its designation, the Sanctuary, its professional staff, and its advisory councils and committees continue to proactively address emerging issues related to Sanctuary conservation, research, education, and management. The Sanctuary's Water Quality Protection Program, and its efforts to facilitate discussions and action on behalf of oil spill prevention, are two efforts that are especially critical to conservation of otters and their habitat. Simply put, otters require clean habitat. Sanctuary staff from the Monterey office are particularly talented, dedicated individuals devoted to achieving these same goals.
While the waters of the Sanctuary have long been considered "clean" relative to others, water quality evaluations &emdash; especially those related to " non-point" source pollution &emdash; will be pivotal in understanding the current decline in the sea otter population. Similarly, implementing at least one tangible and enforceable oil spill prevention tool is key to the full recovery of the threatened otter population.
The Sanctuary has stepped up, with leadership and staff talent, to address both these difficult issues. While the Sanctuary is involved in many projects, these two in particular will determine how soon &emdash; and to what degree &emdash; the otter population will recover.
Our Legacy to the Future
by Rachel Saunders
Director, CMC's Ecosystem Protection Program (West Coast); Vice-Chair and Conservation Representative, Sanctuary Advisory Council; and Manager, CMC's BAY NET program
" he had a way of drawing people into his own love for this earth, especially the oceans, then communicating almost effortlessly a sense of commitment that left people thinking `well of course we have to take care of it; of course we have to protect it'."
--Vice President Al Gore speaking about Jacques-Yves Cousteau upon his death on June 27, 1997
This past summer the ocean lost perhaps its greatest single crusader -- Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
His child-like sense of wonder and excitement inspired many to enjoy, understand, and take care of the ocean; yet it is clear from the state of our oceans that many more able hands are needed to ensure a bright future.
Here on the Central Coast, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary remains a key tool in efforts to ensure a bright future for our ocean and for inspiring, much the way Cousteau did, a protective posture towards the sea.
The Sanctuary's creation was the culmination of more than fifteen years of unwavering public support and the tireless efforts of government officials and conservation groups such as the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC). More than a mere piece of legislation, the Sanctuary took shape as the fleshing out of an idea and the unfolding of a purpose &emdash; to provide one of this nation's most beautiful and bountiful marine areas with a special and long-lasting level of protection. Now, five years later, it serves as a catalyst for drawing together the community to tackle challenging issues, provide schools with new ocean-oriented curriculum, and engage businesses in economically and environmentally sound partnerships.
But our work is far from done. For example, the Sanctuary must break through the wall of delay and inaction on vessel traffic issues and put in place meaningful measures to reduce the likelihood of a devastating oil spill. Protecting our fisheries, monitoring the quality of Sanctuary waters (and their watersheds), and vigilance over recreational and commercial uses of the Sanctuary are also essential.
So, while taking pride in our achievements, let's roll up our collective shirtsleeves and pledge a renewed commitment to "doing conservation." If not here, where? If not now, when?
The Sanctuary and Save Our Shores:
A Partnership for Ocean Protection
by Anne Alexander Rowley
Paddling my surfboard home through the Sanctuary at low tide, I look down at the brilliant green creatures by my toes: sea anemones, under your protection &emdash; and mine. These are hardy survivors of a harsh environment. Each anemone glinting here on the rock is part of a colony, and lining the collective's border are its sentinels, with their more powerful arms, guarding the safety of the whole.
The many members and volunteers of Save Our Shores (SOS) are sentinels for the Sanctuary &emdash; and the Sanctuary administration has worked hard to support SOS. Over the past five years, this active partnership has done much to strengthen local efforts for ocean conservation and awareness.
The SOS Sanctuary Watch program is a nationally-recognized example of how caring, well-trained residents can help keep a protective eye on their coastal waters. By endorsing and supporting this program, the Sanctuary administration was able to begin community ocean conservation efforts nearly a year before its regional office was opened and staffed.
We are grateful for the Sanctuary's support of our instructive Marine Sanctuary Center in Santa Cruz. We work closely with the Sanctuary to create new outreach programs, like the Dockwalkers, who will be educating boaters in Sanctuary harbors about marine hazardous waste spillage. The Sanctuary also has been supportive of our Sanctuary Stewards program, through which we have educated over 30,000 people.
I strap up my board, thinking about the sea anemones and thankful in my knowledge that at this moment, all along our coast, the sentinels are watching. In a harsh world of many environmental threats, together we can find Sanctuary.
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Last modified on: June 14,