The SACs membership changed during the year. Steve Scheiblauer completed the Monterey Harbor rotation as the harbor representative. Jim Stilwell, Moss Landing Harbormaster, replaced Steve as the primary harbor representative. Craig Wilson was appointed to the CA EPA seat. Two new alternate representatives were appointed to the following seats: Peter Grenell, harbors (Pillar Point) and Kirk Schmidt, agriculture.
The SACs Executive Committee also changed. Stephanie Harlan replaced Steve Webster as the SAC Chair and Ed Brown was re-elected to serve as the Councils Secretary. Steve Abbott continued to serve his term as Vice-Chair.
Lisa DeMarignac, the MBNMS SAC Coordinator, left the Sanctuary in August to travel around the world. Brady Phillips, on a one-year detail from the Sanctuarys headquarters office, replaced Lisa as the SAC Coordinator starting at the June meeting in Monterey.
Advisory Council members participated in numerous Sanctuary events throughout the year, including but not limited to the following: Agriculture and Rural Lands Action Plan Kick-Off at Steinbeck Center in Salinas (Jan. 14), Sanctuary Currents Symposium in Santa Cruz (March 18), Bilge water pump-out ceremonies at Monterey (April 5) and Moss Landing (Sept. 18) harbors, Sustainable Seas Expeditions (SSE) Student Summit (April 7), Snapshot Day Stream Sampling (April 17), Environmental Hero Award celebration for Mark Silberstein (April 19), Watsonville Stream Clean-up (April 19), Vessel Traffic Ceremony in San Francisco (May 31) , White House Millennium Lecture Series on Exploration at MBARI (June 12), Cambria Boundary Marker celebration (June 23), SSE kick-off event at Hearst Castle (June 23), SSE Live Webcast (June 28), SSE Expeditions onboard the RV Macarthur (June 30 July 12), Great American Fish Count (July 1-14), Public Meetings on Kelp Management Report (July 11-24), Monterey Harbor Clean-up (July 22), a SAC reception/dinner in Cambria after the Staff-SAC retreat (Aug. 3), Sanctuary Birthday and Shark Festival in Santa Cruz (Sept. 16), and the following fundraisers to benefit the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation: Robert Lyn Nelson Studios (Oct. 23, April 15 and July 12), Ansel Adams Gallery (May 8).
The CWG, co-chaired by Vicki Nichols and Ron Massengill, met ten times during the year. The CWG has been recruiting several new and interested participants and the group will continue to outreach for additional input. Individual members of the CWG were the primary force in the development of additional monitoring funds and plans for the Duke Power Plan Expansion at Moss Landing. The CWG invested a tremendous amount of time reviewing alternatives to the intake and discharge, the Regional Water Quality Control Board permits for the plant, the potential impacts to the benthic and planktonic organisms of the Slough and various tropic levels, the mitigation package and costs, performance standards, and monitoring of both the thermal discharge and entrainment.
The CWG provided input to the SAC and Sanctuary staff regarding kelp harvesting policies in the Sanctuarys Kelp Management Report. Save Our Shores hosted three public kelp workshops in the Sanctuary region incorporating Sanctuary staff and CWG members to discuss various elements and perspectives of the Report. The CWG continued to work with Sanctuary staff regarding the storm drain and erosion problems at Fort Ord, as well as various California-based fishery issues such as Gill Nets.
The CWG took a leadership role in addressing underwater sound impacts as well as fiber optic cables being proposed for placement within the Sanctuary. Members also contributed to the Sanctuarys annual report and assisted in coordination of the Sanctuary Currents Symposium. CWG members also collaborated with other SAC working groups on issues relating to Sanctuary protection.
The RAP, chaired by Gregor Cailliet (vice-chair Richard Starr), met at eight different research institutions throughout the year. At each meeting, the host institution presented overviews of their activities, and many sanctuary issues, as well as broader science topics and project
proposals were discussed. The RAP provided input to the Sanctuary Advisory Council and Sanctuary staff on seafloor mapping, Sustainable Seas Expeditions evaluation, undersea cable laying and related resource impacts, and fisheries management. RAP members wrote sections of the Sanctuarys Ecosystem Observations Report, participated extensively in developing a plan for a Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network, reviewed the MBNMS kelp report, commented on a report which analyzed sediment transport related to Santa Cruz Harbor dredging, and served on the planning committee for the Sanctuary Currents Symposium. This year, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory was added as a Research Institution Member to the RAP, and the RAP section on the MBNMS web site was also updated. The RAP continues to play a pivotal role in enhancing communication among the many marine scientists in the broader Sanctuary region.
The SEP, chaired by Patricia Clark-Gray (vice-chair Rachel Saunders), met seven times at various locations (Monterey Peninsula College, Cambria, Moss Landing Marine Lab, Maritime Museum, Long Marine Lab and the Gulf of Farallones NMS office). The group has participated in two field trips. The first was to Piedras Blancas where they viewed the new interpretive signs for the elephant seal problem. On the second field trip, Carol Prince, Golden Gate National Park Association Director of External Affairs, gave the group a tour of the Crissy Field habitat restoration. They also visited the GGNRA Native Plant Nursery. The SEP gave educational input to several projects (Ecosystem Monitoring, CCC Marine Educator's Directory, and the SACs interpretive sign fund-raising project).
The Advisory Council held its annual retreat on the afternoon of August 3rd in Cambria to set priorities for the upcoming year. In preparation for the meeting, Sanctuary staff provided the SAC with a short summary of 14 priorities for the upcoming year. Based on the workshop with the staff, the Advisory Council set four priority issues to focus on during their subsequent six meetings:
MAJOR ISSUES, ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN)
Energy Moss Landing Power Plant Expansion
The mitigation package will include specific measures to help minimize the impacts of fish mortality due to larval entrainment in the intake system. Duke Energy will provide around $7 million to the Elkhorn Slough Foundation to oversee the mitigation. Approximately $425,000 will be transferred to the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation to go toward monitoring the effects of the thermal plume in the MBNMS. A number of individual SAC members in their various capacities participated in the issue. The SAC took no action on this item.
Later in the fall, several CWG members met with Duke Power and successfully acquired an additional $1 million for monitoring, to be administered through the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation as part of the SIMoN monitoring efforts. The funds will provide about $200K annually (over 5 years) for biological and physical monitoring of Elkhorn Slough.
Clintons Marine Protected Area (MPA) Executive Order
Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Report Recommendations
Many SAC members thought the report correctly identified many areas the program needs to work on, particularly those aspects related to Sanctuary Advisory Councils. The SAC voted to form a NAPA Subcommittee to look more closely at the NAPA recommendations and identify those areas where the MBNMS and the National Program could start to improve. The NAPA subcommittee remains actively involved in this process.
At the February SAC meeting, Donna Blitzer, representing Congressman Sam Farr, submitted a letter to SAC members addressing their concerns with the NOS letter, and assuring members that Farrs office would make significant efforts to communicate with the SAC by regular attendance at Council meetings on his or Donnas part, and that his office would routinely request copies of Council correspondence. After much discussion, the SAC voted to form a working group (later named the Legislative Working Group) to explore the legality of the SAC writing letters to U.S. legislators and to work on re-writing the MBNMS SACs Charter and Protocols. The working group met several times and provided regular updates to the SAC. In June, Donna Blitzer, representing Congressman Farr, distributed a report from the Congressional Research Service "Restrictions on Lobbying Congress with Federal Funds" to help clarify and facilitate communication between the SAC and the Congressman Farr. Members of the Legislative Working Group interpreted this report as affirmation that they could contact members of Congress, since they are not engaged in grassroots lobbying. NOAA did not share this view.
In late September, chairperson Jim Stilwell, on behalf of the Legislative Working Group, distributed a memo to the SAC that set forth a set of proposed changes to the MBNMS SAC Charter and Protocols, and a recommended course of action. To date, the SAC has voted only on the proposed recommended changes to the Charter. The vote indicated that the majority of SAC members do not favor making substantive changes to the Charter. The SAC has not voted on the Protocols. The Legislative Working Group continues to meet, at times in conjunction with the NAPA Subcommittee.
MBNMS Funding Using The Sanctuary Foundation - Pilot Funding Taskforce
The task force recommended that the SAC undertake a fundraising pilot project, led by the task force. In January, task force members and Sanctuary staff agreed on a two-part pilot project -- an interpretive signage/exhibit series and community-based water quality monitoring to support and expand on the Sanctuarys existing Water Quality Monitoring Program. Implementing both these projects would have both fiscal and public relations benefits.
Liz Love, MBNMS educator, presented an overview of the interpretive signage/exhibit series and provided written and pictorial descriptions of proposed sites and their associated signage. Holly Price, MBNMS Water Quality Protection Coordinator, provided an overview of the existing citizen monitoring network and the benefits of regional citizen monitoring of water quality within the Sanctuary and its watersheds. Holly outlined elements of the program that businesses could sponsor.
Five "team leaders" volunteered to lead fundraising efforts for a particular signage location and water quality monitoring component. SAC members were asked to join up with a particular leader to form a team. Dennis Long, Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation, offered to help Sanctuary staff put together an informational package on fundraising and forward it to the team leaders. After discussion, the team leaders agreed to start with fundraising for the signage. At subsequent SAC meetings, team leads provided updates on sponsored signage on behalf of their region. Several potential sponsors were identified.
1 Repairs Along The Big Sur Coast
Several landslides during the winter of 1999 resulted in closures of HWY One and led to conflicts between CalTrans wanting to dispose materials into the ocean and the Sanctuary staff expressing concerns about the potential impacts of disposal of large amounts of materials at certain sites. In order to develop long-term solutions for these reoccurring slide material disposal issues, CalTrans is moving forward on the development of a management plan for Highway One along the Big Sur coastline, from the Carmel River in the north, to the San Luis Obispo County line in the south. CalTrans is also working with the Sanctuary, and other agencies, to develop and fund a sediment budget study for the area. Sanctuary staff and some SAC members have regularly been attending Big Sur community meetings led by CalTrans. The SAC unanimously passed a motion to support the Sanctuarys efforts to balance environmental concerns and business interests in relation to these HWY One issues, and to support a study funded by CalTrans, the US Geological Survey, and the Sanctuary to determine the sediment budget and erosion rates along the Big Sur coast.
The Advisory Council also motioned to send a letter to the California Fish and Game Commission regarding the Commissions five-year review of its giant and bull kelp commercial and sport fishing regulations. The Council identified a list of topics that it requested the Commission to consider and integrate into its plan.
In February, Aaron King briefed the SAC on the history of the kelp conflict off Cannery Row, and explained that though the Sanctuary is authorized to regulate kelp, at this time, it is opting to submit recommendations to the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) who regulates the harvest of kelp within State waters. Aaron went over the process and timeline for soliciting public comment, including that from the SAC.
Based on SAC and public comment, the Sanctuary released a second version of the Draft MBNMS Kelp Management Report in June. The SAC made a motion to submit individual comments on the draft kelp report to the Sanctuary directly, and take a formal action at the next meeting. At the August meeting, the SAC engaged in a vigorous discussion over the Sanctuarys 9 proposed kelp management recommendations to CDFG. The RAP, CWG, and BTAP all submitted comments for the SAC to consider. Many kelp harvesters also attended the meeting to provide the SAC input. In the end, the SAC passed 11 motions relating to the Sanctuarys recommendations, including adopting 4 (as is, or with modifications), rejecting 3, taking no position on 2, and adding 2 entirely new recommendations.
In its final recommendations to CDFG, the Sanctuary included 9 of the SACs 11 recommendations.
In December, the SAC sent a letter to the State Lands Commission commenting on the Draft Environmental Impact Review for the Global Photon fiber optic cable project. The SAC pointed out inadequacies of the draft plan, and endorsed the comments that the Sanctuary made to the State Lands Commission.
In April, the SAC made a motion to send a letter to the State Lands Commission, urging that the agency ensure that the Sanctuary and Advisory Councils concerns are addressed in the FEIR for the Global Photon project. The Sanctuary also made a motion to send a letter to the California Coastal Commission expressing concerns regarding the environmental impacts of submarine fiber optic cable projects in general, including cumulative impacts, and urging the Commission to address concerns regarding potential environmental impacts.
At the August meeting, the SAC was given notice that the National Marine Sanctuary Program would publish in the Federal Register an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for Installing and Maintaining Commercial Submarine Cables in the National Marine Sanctuaries On August 23, 2000. The SAC discussed the topic at both the August and October meetings before writing their final letter to NOAA on October 23, 2000, outlining their specific concerns.
Quality Protection Programs Agriculture and Rural Lands Action Plan
After consulting with their constituents, in an April 27, 2000 letter to the Acting Director of the Sanctuary Program Office, the SAC diver representative and the SAC Alternate diver representative gave notice that the diving community was withdrawing from the Sanctuarys Diver Partnership Program. A compromise, through the work of an independent facilitator and the SAC Executive Committee, was ultimately reached and the diving community and the Sanctuary are working together to get the Diver Partnership Program moving again. As a result of the meeting, the Sanctuary created a new Diver Partnership Program website, reaffirmed its position that the diver disturbance study supports the Sanctuarys conclusion that scuba divers have no significant impact in kelp forests, and is moving forward in creating a new brochure for divers.
Ord Stormwater Pipes
More recently, the SAC has continued to follow the Sanctuarys discussions with the U.S. Army regarding the idea of removing stormwater pipes located in the Fort Ord dunes. On September 10, 1999, the Sanctuary sent a letter to the Army detailing the Sanctuarys continuing concerns about the dissolution of the Restoration Advisory Board; the degrading stormwater pipes; ordnance and explosives; and the trichloroethylene plume under Fort Ord sites 2 and 12 that may be flowing into Monterey Bay. The SAC decided to wait until they received a copy of the Armys response to the Sanctuary letter before taking any action. The Army sent a letter back to the Sanctuary in December 1999, which was distributed to the SAC. The SAC continues to monitor the clean-up activities.
Year 2001 NMSP Budget and Support
On December 8, 1999 the SAC sent a letter to Stephanie Thornton, Chief MSD, making recommendations for priority projects to receive new funding, including education and outreach programs; implementation of program plans supported by the Council - vessel traffic strategies and the Agricultural Plan for water quality; and research on site characterization and ecosystem monitoring. The SAC also sent a letter to Dan Basta, Chief, MSD, on October 19, 2000 urging him to financially support the management plan revision and implementation of the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN).
of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA)
After much delay in congress, President Clinton signed the National Marine Sanctuaries Act of 2000 on November 14, 2000.