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Part I: Executive Summary

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Cover
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Part I:
Executive Summary
Part II:
The Affected Environment
  I. Regional Context
  II. Sanctuary Resources
  III. Human ActivitiesI
  IV. Existing Resource Protection Regime
Part III:
Alternatives Including The Preferred Alternative
  I. Boundary Alternatives
  II.Regulatory Alternatives
  III. Management Alternatives
Part IV
Environmental Concequences
  I. Boundary Alternatives
  II. Regulatory Alternatives
  III. Management Alternative Consequences
  IV. Unavoidable Adverse Environmental or Socioeconomic Effects
  V. Relationship Between Short-term Uses of the Environment and the Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-term Productivity
Part V:
Sanctuary Management Plan
  I. Introduction
  II. Resource Protection
  III. Research
  IV. Education
  V. Administration
Part VI:
List of Preparers and Alternatives
Part VII:
List of Agencies, Organizations, and Persons Receiving Copies
Part VIII:
References
Part IX
Appendices

Part I Table of Contents

I. Introduction I-3
II. The National Marine Sanctuary Program I-4
III. History of the Monterey Bay Proposal I-8
IV. Purpose and Need for Designation I-11
  A. Introduction I-11
  B. Natural and Historical Resources I-15
  C. Present and Potential Uses I-16
  D. Adequacy of Existing Authorities to Manage the Area I-17
  E. Benefits Derived From Sanctuary Status I-19
    1. Oil, Gas and Mineral Activities I-20
    2. Discharges and Deposits into the Sanctuary and I-21
    3. Discharges and Deposits that Enter the Sanctuary and Injure a Sanctuary Resource or Quality I-21
    4. Moving, Removing or Injuring Historical Resources I-22
    5. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed I-22
    6. Taking Marine Mammals, Seabirds or Turtles I-22
    7. Overflights I-22
    8. Personal Water Craft I-23
    9. Vessel Traffic I-23
    10. Fishing/Aquaculture/Kelp harvesting I-24
V. Socioeconomic Effects of Designation
I-24
  A. Fishing/Aquaculture/Kelp harvesting I-25
  B. Oil, Gas and Minerals I-25
  C. Discharge and Deposits I-26
  D. Personal Water Craft I-27
  E. Overflights I-27
  F. Vessel Traffic I-27
  G. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed I-28
VI. Manageability of the Area
I-29
VII. Consultations
I-30
  A. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) I-30
  B. Endangered Species Act (ESA) I-30
  C. Resource Assessment I-31
  D. Federal Consistency Determination I-31
  E. Fishery Regulations I-31
  F. Other Federal and State Agencies and the U.S. Congress I-31

I. Introduction

In accordance with Title III of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1431 et seq., this Final Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan proposes the establishment of a national marine sanctuary centered on Monterey Bay to facilitate the long-term management, protection, understanding and awareness of its resources and qualities.

Title III of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, as amended, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1431 et seq., (MPRSA) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to designate discrete areas of the marine environment of special national significance as national marine sanctuaries to ensure comprehensive management and protection of their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, research, educational, or aesthetic resources and qualities. The U.S. Congress directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (P.L. 100-627, section 205) to designate Monterey Bay as a national marine sanctuary.

II. The National Marine Sanctuary Program

Consistent with the mission of developing a system of National Marine Sanctuaries for the purpose of serving the long-term benefit of the public, the following goals were established for the Program:

  • Enhance resource protection, through comprehensive and coordinated conservation and management tailored to the specific resources, that complements existing regulatory authorities;
  • Support, promote and coordinate scientific research on, and monitoring of, the site- specific marine resources to improve management decision-making in National Marine Sanctuaries; °Enhance public awareness, understanding, and wise use of the marine environment through public interpretive and recreational programs; and
  • Facilitate, to the extent compatible with the primary objective of resource protection, multiple uses of these marine areas not prohibited pursuant to other authorities.

Eight National Marine Sanctuaries have been established since the Program's inception in 1972 (Figure 1)

Figure 1: National Marine Sanctuary Program:

  • The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary serves to protect the wreck of the Civil War ironclad, U.S.S. MONITOR. It was designated in January 1975 and is located 16 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
  • The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, designated in September 1980, ensures that valuable habitats for marine mammals and seabirds off the coast of California adjacent to the northern Channel Islands and Santa Barbara Island are protected. °The Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, designated in January 1981, is a submerged live bottom area located on the South Atlantic continental shelf due east of Sapelo Island, Georgia and is recognized as a highly productive and unusual habitat for a wide variety of species including corals, tropical fish, and sea turtles.
  • °The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, designated in January 1981, is a 948 square nautical mile area off the California coast north of San Francisco. It provides a habitat for a diverse array of marine mammals and birds as well as pelagic fish, plants, and benthic biota.
  • °The Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary in American Samoa was designated in August 1986. The 163-acre bay contains deepwater coral terrace formations that are unique to the high islands of the tropical Pacific. It serves as habitat for a diverse array of marine flora and fauna including the endangered hawksbill turtle and the threatened green sea turtle.
  • °The Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, designated in May, 1989, is a 397 square nautical mile area off the central California coast and contiguous with the northern boundary of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Due to a rare combination of oceanic conditions and undersea topography, Cordell Bank and its surrounding waters provide a highly productive marine environment for a rich variety of benthic organisms as well as fish, marine mammals and seabirds in a discrete, well-defined area.
  • °The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was designated by the U.S. Congress, under the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act (P.L. 101-605), on November 16, 1990. The Act specifies an approximately 2,600 square nautical mile area of coastal waters off the Florida Keys encompassing the world's third largest barrier reef. The purpose of this Act is to protect the Florida coral reef area, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, specifically from activities such as vessel groundings and pollution. This Act prohibits oil and gas activities within the Sanctuary and requires the Secretary of Commerce to develop a comprehensive management plan and implementing regulations not later than 30 months after the date of enactment of this Act. Upon implementation of this Management Plan, Key Largo and Looe Key Sanctuaries, which were previously designated in 1975 and 1981, respectively, would be incorporated into the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. °The Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary was designated in November 1991. This site represents a complex, biologically productive reef community noted for outstanding fragile coral development and the only known oceanic brine seep in the continental shelf waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition, the Sanctuaries and Reserves Division is in the process of studying, or preparing draft or final designation documents for seven additional proposed Sanctuaries around the coast of the United States (Figure 1).

III. History of the Monterey Bay Proposal

The State of California nominated Monterey Bay for consideration as a national marine sanctuary in 1977, along with nine other marine areas. NOAA selected three sites for further consideration: Channel Islands, Point Reyes-Farallon Islands, and the Monterey Bay area. In December 1978, NOAA released an Issue Paper on these three sites, presenting several boundary and regulatory options for each proposal. Public hearings on the Issue Paper were held and, based on the responses, NOAA declared all three sites as Active Candidates on August 10, 1979.

This process led to the designation of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary on September 21, 1980 and the Point Reyes- Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary (later renamed the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary) on January 16, 1981. The proposed Monterey Bay site was delayed due to the complex analyses and corresponding staff time required for these two sanctuaries. On December 14, 1983, NOAA removed Monterey Bay from the list of active candidates (48 Federal Register 56253) based on the existence of the two other national marine sanctuaries in California (Channel Islands and Gulf of the Farallones) that protect similar marine resources, the proposed area's relatively large size and the surveillance and enforcement burdens this would impose on NOAA, and the wealth of existing marine conservation programs already in place.

Under the 1988 reauthorization of the MPRSA (Public Law 100- 627), NOAA was directed to designate Monterey Bay as a national marine sanctuary. This statutory requirement reinstated Monterey Bay as an active candidate for Sanctuary status.

NOAA held two scoping meetings in the Monterey Bay area during January 1989, to solicit public comments on the proposed Sanctuary. Comments were sought on readily identifiable issues, to suggest additional issues for examination, and to provide information useful in evaluating the site's potential as a Sanctuary. A figure of a study area was presented as an example of the area under consideration for ultimate designation as National Marine Sanctuary (Figure 2). The public response was favorable to proceeding with the evaluation. Oral and written comments during the scoping period also requested that the study area be expanded to include a northern area contiguous with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and a southern area to include the California Sea Otter Refuge. In response, the DEIS/MP included a boundary alternative (#5) that encompassed the area of concern (Figure 3).

On August 3, 1990, NOAA released the DEIS/MP for the proposed Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and published proposed regulations at 55 FR 31786. The public comment period included public hearings on September 12-14, and closed on October 3. Appendix F contains summaries of the comments and NOAA's responses.

IV. Purpose and Need for Designation

A. Introduction

The purpose of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is to provide a comprehensive ecosystem approach to natural and historical resource management. Sanctuary status would permit the implementation of a coordinated and comprehensive management scheme resulting in enhanced resource protection of ecological and historic resources. The preferred alternative would promote resource protection by:

°bolstering the existing regulatory resource protection regime. °establishing a coordinated research program to expand knowledge of the Monterey Bay area environment and resources and thus provide the basis for sound management. °including a broad-based education and interpretive program to improve public understanding of the Monterey Bay area's importance as the habitat for a unique community of marine organisms. °providing a comprehensive management framework to protect this habitat.

The remainder of this section summarizes the natural and historical resources of the area that require protection; the human uses in the area, some of which threaten or may threaten the natural and historical resources; the adequacy of the existing management structure to protect the area's resources from human threats; and finally, the benefits of Sanctuary designation. A summary comparison of resources and uses encompassed by each proposed boundary alternative is provided in Table 1. Table 2 (parts A and B) summarizes the environmental consequences of relying on the Status Quo, or the existing management structure, to manage the resources and uses encompassed by each boundary alternative. Table 2 (parts C and D) provides a summary of the consequences of Sanctuary impacts by boundary alternative.

B. Natural and Historical Resources

The proposed Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary meets all of the site identification criteria developed by the Sanctuaries and Reserves Division (NOAA, 1983). Located within a broad transition zone between the Oregonian biogeographic province to the north and the Californian province to the south, the bay is influenced by relatively cool and fresh waters of the California Current, a classic eastern boundary current that is part of the large-scale North Pacific Gyre. The bathymetry, currents and ocean thermal structure in the area around Monterey Bay provide favorable conditions for strong upwelling of nutrient-rich water, which is often found in the bay.

Consequently, the nearshore waters and diversity of habitats are highly productive and support exceptionally rich and abundant floral and faunal communities that are very important in central and northern California. The variety of habitat assemblages is one of the major determinants of the rich intertidal and subtidal communities and represents the range of habitats to be found in the Oregonian province. The high density of habitat types and community assemblages provides an excellent environment for a wide variety of research projects, including deep-sea studies, and educational opportunities.

The area supports a great diversity of marine mammals in the world, including several endangered and threatened species such as the endemic and threatened California Sea Otter. Areas such as Año Nuevo State Reserve have been cited as one of the most important pinniped rookeries in California. Monterey Bay plays a major role for avifauna as a staging habitat during migrations, and as wintering and summer habitat. The entire world population of the Ashy Storm- Petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) (5,000-10,000) can be found feeding above the Monterey canyon from August to November.

The quality and abundance of natural resources has attracted humans from the earliest prehistoric times and as a result the area contains significant historical, e.g., archeological and paleontological, resources. For example, numerous shipwrecks are located along the central coast of California with significant and valuable historical artifacts.

The wide variety and abundance of these natural and historic resources are of outstanding value to the local, state, regional, national and international community. While Monterey Bay has thus far enjoyed the reputation as an internationally renowned scenic area with good water quality, this can not realistically be expected in the future without deliberate protection.

C. Present and Potential Uses

The diverse resources of the Monterey Bay area are enjoyed by the residents of this area as well as numerous visitors. The population of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties was 544,000 in 1985 and is projected to increase to 755,000 by 2005. The projected growth is based in large part on the area's natural beauty.

The area also supports several economic activities. The most important activity directly dependent on the resources is commercial fishing, which has played an important role in the history of Monterey Bay and continues to be a very important activity to the region's economy. Related to fisheries are several aquaculture operations within the Monterey Bay area, which are dependent in large part on clean ocean waters. Some operations collect organisms directly from the Bay while others grow and produce their own stocks through captive breeding.

The combination of biological and physical characteristics of the area provide outstanding opportunities for scientific research on many aspects of marine ecosystems. Thirteen research/education facilities are found in the preferred Sanctuary boundary area. These institutions have a long history of research and large databases possessing a considerable amount of baseline information on the bay area and its resources.

Tourism and recreational activities, business, commercial and industrial uses of the area are all increasing. Oil and gas exploration, development and production may be considered in the future. Two sites off Moss Landing are used for depositing dredge spoils and additional areas are under consideration off of the Golden Gate. Point source pollution from municipal and industrial wastes is dumped into the waters at various outfalls and municipal plans for additional outfalls and discharges into Monterey Bay are being considered. Non-point agricultural runoff also enters the Bay primarily from the major agricultural areas of the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys. Large commercial vessels regularly traverse the proposed Sanctuary en route to and from San Francisco Bay with infrequent vessel traffic to Moss Landing Harbor.

So far the variety of human uses has not dramatically altered or damaged the resources of Monterey Bay. However, NOAA is concerned about the potential conflicts and cumulative effects as the area becomes more heavily populated and visited by increasing numbers of tourists.

D. Adequacy of Existing Authorities to Manage the Area

Existing programs to protect significant resources within the Monterey Bay area and to provide recreational and interpretive opportunities have placed considerable emphasis on the protection of coastal resources but have not given the same attention to offshore oceanic resources. State programs such as Areas of Special Biological Significance provide geographically discrete protection for sensitive habitats and species along much of the mainland coast. In reality, of course, marine mammals, seabirds, and other marine flora and fauna depend on habitats and foraging areas far more extensive then those covered by existing protective regulations.

Such critical marine areas as the waters around Año Nuevo Island and over the Monterey Submarine Canyon receive no special attention by resource managers. The waters of the Big Sur and San Mateo coastline receive limited protection but lack a mechanism to establish research priorities and coordination and develop Emergency Response plans for potential accidents such as groundings and/or oil spills. With current resources of existing programs being limited, the coordination of resource protection and management programs is essential. The Monterey Bay Sanctuary could provide an important role in such coordination.

Maintaining the status quo and not designating a Marine Sanctuary in and around Monterey Bay would preserve the existing level of management and protection and forego the opportunity for positive management of this rich marine area. In the absence of a Sanctuary, there will be less ecosystem research, no new education or public awareness programs directed at users, and no institutional mechanism for long-term planning and coordination of agency activities in this particularly valuable geographic area.

Currently, no institution addresses the range of significant questions concerning the interaction of resources and uses in the area. While a variety of organizations conduct research, there is no systematic coordination to ensure that information needs are addressed in a timely and adequate manner. Even if information becomes available through research projects, no institution is charged with applying that information to practical management issues such as modification of regulations. Similarly, no agency attempts to monitor the health, stability and changing conditions of this valuable marine ecosystem. Resource assessment through baseline data gathering and continued monitoring of environmental conditions is essential to assess the adequacy of the protection afforded these important resources. The status quo alternative would leave the protection of this area to the chance coordination of the regulatory efforts of a number of agencies and would forego opportunities for affirmative management.

Presently, numerous government agencies are vested with some regulatory authority over certain activities within the area (See Appendix C). The regulatory activities are not carried out in the context of a comprehensive management plan, and no organizational structure exists to coordinate research and regulation. For example, other than the California Mussel Watch Program, there is no systematic environmental monitoring program nor is there a mechanism for applying research findings to the resolution of management issues. In addition, a major gap exists between the collection of data required under current NPDES permits and the use and application of these data to water quality issues on an ecosystem or cumulative basis.

These existing authorities provide a considerable degree of protection for coastal resources in general and the state parks, beaches, reserves and refuges do so in particular. In general, however, the statutes described above and the agencies administering them are each directed at a single purpose, region or activity. No entity looks to the welfare of all the living and non-living resources or the ecosystem of this entire marine area. Cumulative impacts on the resources, arising from various activities subject to the jurisdiction of separate agencies, may escape the attention of any single agency.

Although certain uses of the area are not seriously threatening the area's resources or qualities at present, they could have more significant impact if and when activity intensities increase. The various agencies, many of which have different objectives and jurisdictions, may not be able to respond to future activities on the basis of ecosystem issues. There is no existing mechanism to foster long-term planning, which could mitigate or eliminate harmful activities. Because these waters contain so many valuable resources, which in turn support so many beneficial uses, they require the special acknowledgment and study possible in the National Marine Sanctuary Program to ensure that these particular resources and qualities are protected and managed.

E. Benefits Derived From Sanctuary Status

The major benefit of the Sanctuary is the integration of many important nearshore and oceanic marine resource zones and their corresponding human uses into one management regime. Other benefits of designation include: (1) support of research on and monitoring of the resources, (2) enhancement of public awareness of the value of this area, (3) aid in coordinating actions by existing authorities, (4) formulation of long-range plans and respond to currently unforeseen threats which might arise, and (5) regulation of activities which either pose a current risk of causing significant damage or may have greater impacts as use of the area increases. Formal acknowledgment of the species and habitat value of these waters should in itself focus additional attention on the resources of this area and thus encourage direct special attention to any future development plans.

This unique, biologically diverse and relatively undeveloped natural setting is extraordinary, considering its proximity to the Monterey and San Francisco metropolitan regions. Besides providing an ecologically diverse haven for many significant concentrations of living resources, the waters also support a number of socially beneficial human activities. These range from fishing to nature observation, education, scientific research, national defense and law enforcement. To date, such activities have been pursued at low intensity levels. However, these and other potential human activities, (e.g., oil and gas development, dredge spoil disposal), are clearly capable of generating conflicts which could harm the resources of this marine area.

In short, the marine ecosystem's diverse resources and rich productivity make it an area of regional and national significance. The area deserves long-term protection and enhancement to complement the protection already provided for some of its resources onshore and for sections of the extreme nearshore zone. For example, the Sanctuaries and Reserves Division is already responsible for the management of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in cooperation with the State of California Department of Fish and Game. Thus, sanctuary designation would provide a unique opportunity for the establishment of coordinated coastal zone management and research efforts through the integration of the facilities, resources and programs of the Reserve and the Sanctuary. This type of program, emphasizing land-sea interactions, could then serve as an innovative model for other coastal areas of the United States where local land issues and coastal zone problems have traditionally been separated from offshore marine issues in terms of jurisdiction and research effort.

The proposed designation will improve resource protection by instituting new regulatory measures and by supplementing present surveillance and enforcement actions. The overall effect of these regulations, narrowly focused on specific activities, will be beneficial. NOAA must work within the constraints of Title III of the MPRSA when promulgating these regulations. Specifically, section 304(c) provides that NOAA cannot terminate valid leases, permits, licenses or rights of subsistence use or of access existing as of the date of Sanctuary designation but can regulate the exercise of such authorizations and rights consistent with the purposes for which the Sanctuary was designated.

Final regulations are proposed governing: hydrocarbon and mineral activities; discharges and deposits (both from within and outside of Sanctuary boundary); overflights; alteration of or construction on the seabed; historical resources; marine mammals, turtles and seabirds; and personal water craft. In addition, two final regulations are proposed to aid the enforcement of the other regulations: a prohibition on possession of resources and on interference with enforcement operations. See Appendix C of Part IX for the exact regulations, including procedures for applying for permits in certain cases, etc. Two other activities are potentially subject to regulations: vessel traffic and aquaculture/kelp harvesting.

1. Oil, Gas and Mineral Activities

The resources and qualities of the Monterey Bay area, particularly sea otters, sea birds, and pinnipeds that use the haul- out sites, kelp forests and rocks along the Monterey Bay coast, and the high water quality of the area, are especially vulnerable to oil and gas activities in the area. A prohibition on oil and gas activities within the proposed Sanctuary boundary would provide partial protection from oil and gas activities for the resources and qualities within the proposed boundary. Only partial protection would be provided due to the remaining threat from oil and gas activities outside of the Sanctuary boundary and from vessel traffic, particularly oil tankers, transiting through and near the Sanctuary. See #5 below regarding mineral activities.

If oil and gas activities were allowed in the Sanctuary, such development, and construction of man-made structures, would severely disrupt the natural and aesthetic qualities of the area and be inconsistent with the purposes of the Sanctuary. Although certain man-made structures may be permissible in the future for limited purposes such as research or natural resource protection, the threats from oil and gas activities to Sanctuary resources and qualities warrant an absolute prohibition of oil and gas activities. Threats include not only catastrophic events such as oil spills associated with blow-outs, rupture of pipelines or loading of tankers but also long-term chronic events such as discharge of drilling fluids, cuttings and air emissions. Finally, as the area has never experienced offshore oil and gas activities, the area would suffer aesthetic disturbance ranging from the presence of offshore rig structures to building of shore facilities and the necessary transportation of personnel and equipment to and from the offshore rigs.

2. Discharges and Deposits into the Sanctuary and

 

3. Discharges and Deposits that Enter the Sanctuary and Injure a Sanctuary Resource or Quality

These prohibitions are necessary in order to protect the Sanctuary resources and qualities from the harmful effects of land and sea-generated non-point and point source pollution. This provision complements the existing regulatory system, enhances the area's overall appeal, and helps maintain the present good water quality of the Sanctuary. The regulations would prohibit disposal of dredge material within the Sanctuary other than at sites existing on the effective date of Sanctuary designation and discharge of primary treated sewage effluent after expiration of current permits.

New dredge material disposal activities at the already designated dump sites off of Moss Landing would be allowed provided such disposal is approved by NOAA in accordance with Section 944.11. However, the regulations would prohibit disposal of dredged material within the Sanctuary other than at sites off of Moss Landing, i.e., sites existing on the effective date of Sanctuary designation. Point source discharges (which require permits from other authorities) from, including but not limited to, municipal waste water treatment, power, desalination and industrial plants would be also allowed provided such discharge, if its permit is existing as of the date of designation, is certified by NOAA in accordance with Section 944.10 and if its permit is issued after the date of designation, is signed off on by NOAA in accordance with Section 944.11. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been signed between NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of California regarding the Sanctuary regulations relating to water quality within State waters within the Sanctuary. The MOA specifies how sections 944.10 and 944.11 will be administered within State waters within the Sanctuary in coordination with the State permit program. (See Appendix G, Part IX). NOAA encourages existing facilities to decrease their discharge and increase their performance due to the presence of a National Marine Sanctuary. Upon expiration of current permits, municipal treatment plants would be required to have at least secondary treatment capabilities and tertiary or greater as appropriate or necessary depending on the risk to Sanctuary resources and qualities. (The MOA specifies that, as the City of Watsonville is in the process of obtaining a 301(h) waiver renewal as the Sanctuary is being designated, the city may be allowed a one-time renewal with a timeline for compliance with secondary standards requirements. This one-time renewal allows the City of Watsonville until November 1, 1998 to achieve secondary treatment.)

4. Moving, Removing or Injuring Historical Resources

Historical resources in the marine environment are fragile, finite and non-renewable. This prohibition is designed to protect these resources so that they may be researched and information about their contents and type made available for the benefit of the public. This prohibition does not apply to moving, removing or injury resulting incidentally from kelp harvesting, aquaculture or traditional fishing operations.

5. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed

The intent of this prohibition is to protect the resources and qualities of the Sanctuary from the harmful effects of activities that may disrupt and/or destroy sensitive marine benthic habitats, such as kelp beds, invertebrate populations, fish habitats, and estuaries and sloughs. Such activities include, but are not limited to, archeological excavations, drilling into the seabed, strip mining, laying of pipelines and outfalls, ocean mineral extraction (including but not limited to sand mining), and offshore commercial development.

6. Taking Marine Mammals, Seabirds or Turtles

The prohibition overlaps with the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and empowers Sanctuary officials to enforce the provisions of these Acts. This regulation extends protection for Sanctuary resources on an environmentally holistic basis and provide a greater deterrent with civil penalties of up to $50,000 per taking. It includes all marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds in or above the Sanctuary.

7. Overflights

The area-specific prohibition on overflights below 1,000 feet (305 m) is designed to limit potential noise impacts, particularly those that might affect hauled-out seals and sea lions, sea otters or birds nesting along the shoreline margins of the Sanctuary.

Flying motorized aircraft within three nautical miles of mean high water within the Sanctuary and at less than 1,000 feet above the Sanctuary would be prohibited within four zones in the Sanctuary. Generally, these zones are from Point Santa Cruz north to Pescadero Point, Carmel Bay south (overlapping the California Sea Otter Game Refuge) to the Cambria River, and around Moss Landing and Elkhorn Slough (see Appendix II of the regulations for specific area zones).

NOAA recognizes that overflights are regulated under the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Unlike the FARs, however, Sanctuary overflight regulations are intended to protect the living marine resources of the Sanctuary from disturbance by low-flying aircraft and in this case require flying at higher altitudes than normally required with FARs. The less-than-1000-feet overflight prohibition would not apply if the low overflight is necessary to: 1) respond to an emergency threatening life, property or the environment (this exception is true for the most of the other prohibitions as well); 2) valid law enforcement; or 3) certain national defense activities (this exception is true for the most of the other prohibitions as well).

8. Personal Water Craft

The operation of personal water craft within the Sanctuary except in four zones and access routes to and from these zones would be prohibited. This regulation is intended to provide enhanced resource protection by prohibiting operations of personal water craft in areas of high marine mammal and seabird concentrations, kelp forest areas, river mouths, estuaries, lagoons and other similar areas where sensitive marine resources are concentrated and most vulnerable to disturbance and injury from this activity.

9. Vessel Traffic

There are no Sanctuary vessel traffic regulations planned at this time (other than those regarding personal water craft). Vessel traffic separation zones off of San Francisco, implemented by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for the purposes of vessel traffic safety, already provide some safeguards for Sanctuary resources. As the USCG is the primary source of vessel traffic regulation, NOAA is currently working with the USCG to determine the need for additional measures to ensure protection of natural resources. These consultations aim to determine which resources are most at risk, which vessel traffic practices are most threatening and which regulations or restrictions would be most appropriate to alleviate the threat, including those, if any, from foreign vessels.

These ongoing consultations build upon recent Federal and State legislation (since publication of the DEIS/MP in August 1990), that serve to add further protection to Sanctuary resources and qualities. Specifically, the National Oil Pollution Act of 1990 establishes double hull requirements for tank vessels. Most tank vessels over 5,000 gross tons will be required to have double hulls by 2010, while vessels under 5,000 gross tons will be required to have a double hull or a double containment system by 2015. All newly constructed tankers must contain a double hull (or double containment system if under 5,000 gross tons), while existing vessels are phased out over a period of years. In addition, SB 2040, California's Oil Spill Prevention and Removal Act, requires numerous prevention as well as mitigation measures aimed at protecting marine resources from oil spills particularly from tankers.

Despite the above existing safeguards, NOAA recognizes the threat to the Sanctuary from vessel traffic, and therefore has included vessel traffic regulation in the scope of future regulations. NOAA will determine appropriate levels of regulation after designation, and in consultation with the USCG, State agencies, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) through the USCG. Coordination between agencies is intended to focus ongoing efforts to provide adequate protection to the Sanctuary and to emphasize the sensitivity of Sanctuary resources and qualities.

10. Fishing/Aquaculture/Kelp harvesting

No fishing regulations are proposed. Fisheries management will remain under the existing jurisdiction of the State of California, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC). In the case of the Monterey Bay area fish resources are already extensively managed by existing authorities. Sanctuary prohibitions that may indirectly affect fishing activities have been written to explicitly exempt traditional fishing activities, mariculture and kelp harvesting.

Kelp harvesting and aquaculture have been added to the scope of regulations. There is little data to show whether current levels of activities are negatively impacting the Sanctuary area. There is a concern that future intensive use of areas of the coast for aquaculture may degrade water quality and disrupt benthic habitats as well as impact other user groups. Kelp harvesting may negatively impact kelp bed habitat although little data exists regarding this impact. Addition of these activities to the scope of regulation anticipates any necessary action that the Sanctuary may have to take once data become available and after working with relevant agencies and affected parties.

V. Socioeconomic Effects of Designation

The net environmental and socioeconomic effects of designating the Sanctuary and implementing the Sanctuary Management Plan and regulations are estimated to be positive. While such effects are difficult to quantify, the goal of the Sanctuary in part will be to maintain or improve water quality, fisheries, aesthetics and tourism without causing any adverse effects.

The regulations proposed for the Sanctuary are not likely to result in: (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, state or local government agencies or geographic regions; or, (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete

The proposed final Sanctuary regulations would prohibit only a relatively narrow range of activities. Under certain circumstances specific activities, otherwise prohibited, may be allowed. For example, prohibited activities may be allowed if: (1) the activity is done pursuant to a National Marine Sanctuary permit; (2) the activity was pursuant to a valid permit existing on the effective date of designation and the permit for the activity was certified by NOAA, or (3) a permit was applied for after Sanctuary designation and the proposer of the activity notified NOAA of the proposed activity in a timely manner and NOAA approved the activity.

NOAA will keep additional administrative burdens to a minimum by coordinating closely with State and Federal regulatory and permitting agencies. Efforts will be taken to avoid any duplication and to review applications to conduct a prohibited activity in as brief a time as possible.

A. Fishing/Aquaculture/Kelp harvesting

The proposed designation should have no negative effects on the fishing industry. The net effect of preserving habitat and water quality by controlling pollutants and disturbance of the seabed should be very positive for maintaining healthy and productive fish stocks. No regulations are proposed governing fishing activities.

B. Oil, Gas and Minerals

Estimates of any lost revenue from the prohibition on oil, gas and mineral activities within the Sanctuary boundary is presented under the human use consequences section of this document. Banning oil, gas and mineral activities has positive socioeconomic effects that compensate for any lost revenue. For example, the potential of environmental damage from oil spills and discharges will be reduced and the high aesthetic quality of the area will be maintained. In addition, the proposed prohibition may alleviate or remove matters ranging from costs to local communities for developing on-shore facilities to political and legal action resulting from public controversy and apprehension concerning proposed oil and gas activities.

Unfortunately it is still not possible to accurately quantify the negative or positive socioeconomic effects of prohibiting OCS oil and gas activities. The recent NAS study (1989) on the Adequacy of Environmental Information For Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Decisions: Florida and California found that "few data have been collected by MMS or anyone else to address the social and economic impacts of OCS activities".

C. Discharge and Deposits

The regulation prohibiting discharges and deposits may require permit holders or applicants for such activities to seek other areas of disposal or apply higher levels of treatment. All measures, terms and conditions will be done in consultation with the affected party and the appropriate management agency. NOAA has entered into an MOA with the State of California and EPA regarding administration of the Sanctuary regulation of discharges (See Appendix G, Part IX). (An MOU was envisioned by the DEIS/MP -see page 280 of the DEIS/MP). The proposed final regulations prohibiting, with certain exceptions, discharges within or beyond the boundary of the Sanctuary complements the existing regulatory system established by EPA, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

The regulation does not prohibit existing sewage outfall discharges, or the disposal of dredge material within the Sanctuary at existing sites pursuant to permits existing prior to the date of Sanctuary regulations.

However, new discharge of primary treated sewage effluent would be prohibited. Within the preferred boundary only the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville discharge at primary levels. The City of Santa Cruz is 75% complete with an upgrade to secondary treatment and the City of Watsonville is in the process of receiving a Clean Water Act 301(h) waiver renewal permitting primary discharge. Under the terms of the MOA, Watsonville will have until November 1, 1998 to upgrade to secondary treatment levels.

Dredge disposal at dredge disposal sites not existing on the effective date of Sanctuary designation would be prohibited within the Sanctuary. EPA and the COE are investigating potential ocean dump sites as part of the Long-Term Management Strategy for San Francisco Bay dredge material. Two study areas off of San Francisco would be encompassed by the preferred boundary and would thus be unavailable for future use. However, three remaining study areas outside of the Sanctuary boundary would remain available for potential future dumping at the eventual preferred site.

Proposed desalination activities would not be prohibited with Sanctuary designation but rather subject to NOAA approval of appropriate permits required by other agencies to ensure that the activity does not injure Sanctuary resources and qualities.

Overall, this regulation may impose additional costs by requiring the use of more expensive dredge disposal or dumping sites or methods. The regulation could also result in additional costs if were determined that a higher level of treatment or other, more expensive sewage disposal methods were preferable to disposal in the Sanctuary. It is difficult to predict accurately the economic impact of this regulation without analyzing specific proposals. The application of this regulation to dredge disposal and other dumping adds further protection of the resources to that afforded by the existing legislation. The requirement for review and Sanctuary certification of permits will ensure that potentially harmful activities receive special consideration from the Sanctuary viewpoint.

D. Personal Water Craft

Personal water craft would be prohibited in the Sanctuary except within four specified zones and access routes near the harbors of Pillar Point, Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey. The intent of this prohibition is to avoid disturbance and injury to nearshore and coastal resources, such as sea otters and kelp beds, by designating these zones beyond the 10 fathom contour. At the same time these zones would minimize conflicts with other users of the area, such as surfers and swimmers, while at the same time provide access to areas traditionally used by personal water craft operators.

E. Overflights

Overflights below 1000' are prohibited within four zones located generally over and around Elkhorn Slough, north of Santa Cruz and south of Carmel out to three nautical miles. The intent of this prohibition is to protect sensitive Sanctuary resources, such as nesting seabirds and mammals at haul out areas, from the disturbance and startle effects of low-flying aircraft. Access to airports by commercial airlines would not be affected and a local seaplane charter would still be able to take off and land from its base at Santa Cruz.

F. Vessel Traffic

There would be no economic effects on vessel traffic as NOAA has considered vessel traffic regulation and the preferred alternative is not to regulate vessel traffic at the time of Sanctuary designation. Such regulation may include, but is not limited to: (1) routing of all, or certain classes of coast-wise vessel traffic outside of the boundary of the Sanctuary, (2) prohibiting oil barge traffic within the Sanctuary; (3) restriction of all large vessels inbound to and outbound from Monterey Bay to designated port access route(s); and (4) designation of areas to be avoided or other internationally- recognized measures designed to protect the marine environment. NOAA will consult with USCG as studies continue and data becomes available and may propose action in the future for public review. In addition, NOAA will maintain close communication with the USCG to evaluate the need for additional regulations regarding vessel safety and/or emergency response plans and equipment.

G. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed

Dredging activities are not extensive within the preferred alternative's proposed Sanctuary boundary; nevertheless, unrestricted alteration of, construction on, or drilling of the seabed represents a threat to marine resources. Foremost among these adverse impacts would be increased turbidity levels, disruption or displacement of benthic and intertidal communities, and human intrusions near marine bird and marine mammal concentrations. The preferred regulatory restriction would allow limited and ecologically sound dredging at levels fairly certain not to harm breeding grounds, haul out areas, and foraging areas.

This regulation would enhance resource protection by, e.g., reducing the presence and operation of large, and often noisy, dredging machinery. Thus, both over the short and long term, human intrusion upon marine wildlife, along with potentially adverse impacts on their food supplies, (e.g., benthic and pelagic fish resources), would be minimized. No economic impacts upon commercial firms are expected. Exemptions from the dredging prohibition would allow for installation of navigation aids, harbor maintenance (including dredging of harbor entrance channels), and construction, repair, replacement or rehabilitation of docks and piers. Harbors (with the exception of a portion of Moss Landing Harbor) are specifically excluded from the Sanctuary boundary.

Sand mining activities in the Sanctuary would be prohibited. Recent studies have shown that this activity was causing acceleration of natural erosion of the seabed and the adjacent dune system. Recently, both companies that had requested permits to mine in the Sanctuary withdrew their applications and thus no economic impacts are foreseen from this regulation.

The activities exempted from this prohibition would be monitored by the Sanctuary manager in coordination with other responsible agencies. If the data collected demonstrate that a greater degree of Sanctuary oversight is appropriate, amendments to the regulations could be proposed.

VI. Manageability of the Area

The preferred alternative offers better opportunities for interpretation and communication due to the availability of the proposed satellite facilities and immediate staffing. The full-time attention of the manager would be available for resource protection due to the immediate availability of research and education coordinators.

The management of the proposed Sanctuary would integrate and utilize all aspects of the program to provide for the preservation of the special values of this unique marine area. Research and education, coordination, long-term planning and necessary regulations are described in the enclosed Management Plan (MP).

The MP describes management goals and objectives of the Sanctuary tailored to the specific resources and uses of the area. The goals and objectives will provide all Sanctuary users with a framework for conserving resources and integrating uses compatible with the goals of the MP. These management goals are open ended and therefore allow for alternative planning strategies. Each objective of the MP represents a short-term measurable step towards achieving the management goals.

The Sanctuary manager will promote coordination among all the authorities concerned with the Sanctuary and will particularly stress consideration of the special value of the Sanctuary's living resources in the formulation of policies affecting the area. The greater understanding of Sanctuary resources and the effects of human use gained as a result of the research and monitoring will enable NOAA to provide valuable assistance to other authorities in their determinations relating to the level of protection for the resources of the Sanctuary.

The management program for the proposed Sanctuary will be developed and implemented by NOAA and the on-site manager in conjunction with other Federal, state and local agencies in order to benefit from existing expertise and personnel and to promote state and Federal interagency coordination and cooperation. These include those of the California Departments of Fish and Game and Parks and Recreation, the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, Department of Boats and Waterways, local municipalities, AMBAG, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, the Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Service.

A particularly useful mechanism for coordination would be a Sanctuary Advisory Committee (SAC), including members from Federal, state and local agencies, as well as commercial and private interests and the public. The SAC could ensure an exchange of information, advise the Sanctuary manager on permit applications and certifications, research priorities, and regulations.

VII. Consultations

A. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

This document is both a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Management Plan (MP) for the proposed Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The FEIS has been completed in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality's regulations (40 CFR 1500- 1508) for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 USC 4321-4347), including Public Scoping Meetings (January, 1989) and Public Hearings on the DEIS/MP (September, 1990) in the Monterey Bay area. (The MP is included in accordance with Section 304 of the MPRSA).

B. Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Pursuant to Section 7 of the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior, and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Department of Commerce, were consulted in the performance of the biological assessment of possible impacts on threatened or endangered species that might result from the designation of a National Marine Sanctuary at Monterey Bay. The consultation confirmed that some 18 endangered (E) and three threatened (T) species are known to occur in the area. The species identified are:

California brown pelican Pelicanus occidentalis calif E
Short-tailed albatross Diomedea albatrus E
American peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus anatum E
California least tern Sterna antillarum browni E
Gray whale Eschrichtius robustus E
Right whale Eubalaena glacialis E
Blue whale Balaenoptera musculus E
Fin whale B. physalus E
Sei whale B. borealis E
Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae E
Sperm whale Physeter catodon E
Green sea turtle Chelonia mydas E
Leatherback sea turtle Dermochelys coriacea E
Pacific Ridley sea turtle Lepidochelys olivacea E
Loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta T
Guadalupe fur seal Arctocephalus townsendi T
Steller sea lion Eumatopias jubatus* T
Southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis T
Santa Cruz long-toed salamander Ambystoma macro. croceum E
San Francisco garter snake Thamnophis sirt. tetrataenia E
Smith's blue butterfly Euphilotes enoptes smithi E
Santa Cruz cypress Cupressus abramsiana E

 

Both the FWS and the NMFS responded that Sanctuary designation was not likely to adversely affect these species and that no formal consultation pursuant to Section 7 was necessary.

C. Resource Assessment

The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, requires a resource assessment report documenting present and potential uses of the proposed Sanctuary area, including uses subject to the primary jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior (DOI). This requirement has been met in consultation with the DOI and the assessment report is contained in Part II.

D. Federal Consistency Determination

Section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, requires that each Federal agency activity within or outside the coastal zone that affects any land or water use or natural resource of the coastal zone shall be carried out in a manner which is consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of approved state management programs. This requirement is being met through a Federal Consistency Determination being made by NOAA to the California Coastal Commission that the designation of Monterey Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary is consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with California's Coastal Management Plan.

E. Fishery Regulations

Section 303(b)(2)(D) of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, requires consultation with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC). During consultation, NOAA requested the PFMC to determine if additional fishery regulations were necessary with Sanctuary designation in accordance with Section 304(b)(5). PFMC responded that no additional regulations were necessary and that management responsibility regarding fishing activities should remain with existing authorities.

F. Other Federal and State Agencies and the U.S. Congress

The Secretary has consulted with the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate. On August 3, 1990, the Designation Prospectus for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was provided to all members of each committee. The results of these consultations have been incorporated into the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Sanctuary Management Plan (FEIS/MP).

The Secretaries of State, Defense, Transportation, and the Interior, the Administrator of EPA, and the heads of other interested Federal agencies were consulted and their comments were addressed by the FEIS/MP. Summaries of all written comments and comments made at the hearings are provided in Appendix F of the FEIS/MP.

Appropriate California State and local government agencies were consulted and their comments were addressed by the FEIS/MP. Summaries of all written comments and comments made at the hearings are provided in Appendix F of the FEIS/MP.

The comments of all other interested persons were addressed by the FEIS/MP and summaries of all written comments and comments made at the hearings are provided in Appendix F of the FEIS/MP.

URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/intro/mp/archive/original_eis/partI.html    Reviewed: March 05, 2014
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