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PART III: ALTERNATIVES, INCLUDING THE PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE
I. Section: Boundary Alternatives

EIS Navigation

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 III Table of Contents

In evaluating the proposal to designate a Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has analyzed institutional, boundary, regulatory and management alternatives in terms of achieving optimum protection of the ecosystem, improving scientific knowledge of the area, and promoting public understanding of the value of Monterey Bay area resources and qualities. This Part describes the alternatives considered in the evaluation process. Part IV describes the environmental consequences of the alternatives described below.

The fundamental choice of alternatives is between the two institutional alternatives: (1) no action or continuing the status quo, and (2) the preferred alternative, Sanctuary designation as a complementary measure to existing programs. Boundary, regulatory, and management alternatives are considered in the context of the preferred institutional alternative.

I. Section: Boundary Alternatives [Part III TOC]

A. Introduction [Part III TOC]

This section describes the seven proposed boundary alternatives for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The study area for the proposed sanctuary (also included as Boundary Alternative 5, the preferred alternative) encompasses an area of 4,024 square nautical miles. The northern range of the alternatives extends to the Golden Gate National Recreation area in Marin County. The southern range extends to Cambria in San Luis Obispo County. Five of the boundary alternatives extend approximately 46 nautical miles seaward from Moss Landing and approximately 18 nautical miles from the California coast. Depths of over 1,500 fathoms are included in all but one of the alternatives. All of the boundary alternatives include Monterey Bay and its adjacent coastline to the north and the south. They also include state waters between Pigeon Point to the north, and Partington Point to the south. Comprehensive tables follow each boundary description and map, graphically illustrating the resources and human uses contained in each boundary alternative.

All boundary alternatives were derived based on: (1) the distribution of living resources and human uses, (2) geological and physical oceanographic parameters, and (3) management logistics which provide for effective resource protection and enforcement, improve research on the Monterey Bay environment, and enhance public awareness and understanding of the resources and uses of the Sanctuary area.

B. Boundary Alternative 1 [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

The boundary extends from the mean high water level at Pigeon Point on a southwest heading of 240š to the 50 fathom isobath (Figure 30). Following this isobath south to a point where it intersects the three nautical mile geographic limit drawn from the baseline across Monterey Bay, the boundary then turns south along this limit. Upon reaching the 100 fathom isobath on the Sur platform, the boundary then runs generally to the southeast along the 100 fathom isobath. The boundary then proceeds to the head of Partington Canyon until it rejoins the three nautical mile limit. Following the three mile limit until it reaches a point three nautical miles off Partington Point on a heading of 240š, the boundary then proceeds shoreward to the mean high tide level. The land-side boundary follows along the mean high tide level, but Santa Cruz, Moss Landing (except for Elkhorn Slough), and Monterey Harbors are all excluded from this alternative's boundary.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

This boundary focuses on nearshore coastal resources and uses. Consequently high percentages of kelp, intertidal invertebrates, and sea otters are located here (Table 17a & 17b). The area contains a high concentration of fissipeds (otters), particularly in the southern portion, a major concentration of pinniped (seal) colonies/rookeries (equal to Alternatives 2, 6, and 7), and several cetacean sighting areas. However, feeding areas associated with the offshore canyon are excluded. Deep water fish associated with the offshore canyon are also excluded from this proposed alternative. This alternative encompasses only 11 percent of the canyons (excluding deep sea portions) in the study area. Water quality stations, protected areas, freshwater input, and kelp beds are the same as in Alternatives 2, 6, and 7. Due to the limited amount of Federal OCS lands encompassed, this boundary alternative contains only an estimated 80 million barrels of oil and 110 billion cubic feet of natural gas (Table 17). Lands adjacent to the sanctuary are home to three major ports. Commercial ship traffic is often outside of the proposed boundary alternative due to its limited seaward extent. Only two military training areas, adjacent to the coast of Monterey Bay itself, are included.

Figure 30: Boundary Alt 1

Table 17 a: Summary of human uses

Table 17 b: Summary of resources

C. Boundary Alternative 2 [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

This proposed boundary, includes the entire Monterey Canyon between the northern boundary of Pescadero Marsh, two nmi north of Pescadero Point, and the southern boundary of Julia Pfeiffer Burns Underwater Park and Area of Special Biological Significance (ASBS), 2.5 nmi southeast from Partington Point (Figure 31). The boundary extends from the mean high tide line from these sites seaward approximately 18 nmi on a southwesterly heading of 240š. These southern and northern boundaries are joined by an arc drawn from Moss Landing, with a radius of 46 nmi, over the entire Monterey Canyon complex out to the abyssal plain at 1500 fathoms (approx 3,000 m). Santa Cruz, Moss Landing (except for Elkhorn Slough), and Monterey Harbors are all excluded from the sanctuary boundary.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

Most resource values (i.e., kelp, historical sites, protected areas) are similar to those in Alternatives 1, 6, and 7 (Table 18a & 18b). However, this alternative contains higher concentrations of species and greater canyon area than those alternatives. It also contains over half of all seabird and pinniped rookeries/colonies and cetacean high concentration areas. This boundary alternative encompasses approximately 84% of the canyons within the study area. The submerged lands of Boundary Alternative 2 contain an estimated 110 million barrels of oil and 150 billion cubic feet of natural gas (Table 18). This boundary extends seaward to a depth of 1,500 fathoms and includes the productive fishing grounds around the Monterey Canyon. Onshore development is concentrated along the coast of Monterey Bay.

Figure 31: Boundary alt 2

Table 18a: Summary of human uses

Table 18b: Summary of resources

D. Boundary Alternative 3 [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

This alternative is a variation of Alternative 2 with a boundary extension to the south (Figure 32). Specifically, the boundary extends south from the southern boundary of Alternative 2, along the 500 fathom isobath (1,000 m) to a point due east of Cambria and then shoreward to the mean high tide level at Cambria.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

Boundary Alternative 3 includes the central and southern regions of the study area. Excluding Alternative 5, the preferred alternative, it includes the highest concentrations of cetaceans, pinnipeds, fissipeds, and the largest fissiped range (Table 19a & 19b). The southern extension of the proposed boundary encompasses the California Sea Otter Refuge and contains major areas of kelp beds (equal to Alternative 5). It also has the second highest percentage of rockfish habitat, number of fish species (both equal to Alternative 4), and on-shore prehistoric sites. This boundary encompasses approximately 89 percent of the canyons. Because of this alternative's southern extent, adjacent lands contain more forest lands and rangelands than Alternatives 1, 2, 6, and 7 (Table 19a & 19b). It also receives more non-point runoff than those alternatives. The major commercial fishing grounds around Monterey Canyon are included within this proposal. About 120 million barrels of oil and 190 billion cubic feet of natural gas are estimated to occur in submerged lands in this alternative.

Figure 32: Boundary alt 3

Table 19a: Summary of human uses

Table 19b: Summary of resources

E. Boundary Alternative 4 [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

This alternative is another variation of Alternative 2, but with a boundary extension to the north (Figure 33). Specifically, the boundary extends north from the northern boundary of the Alternative 2, along the 500 fathom isobath (1,000 m), to the border of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The northern border of this alternative is then contiguous with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. The boundary then proceeds generally south along the mean high tide level, across the Golden Gate from Point Bonita to Point Lobos, but excludes Princeton Harbor in Half Moon Bay, until it rejoins the boundary of Alternative 2 at the northern boundary of Pescadero State Beach.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

Boundary Alternative 4 includes the central and northern regions of the study area. It contains the second highest percentage of squid spawning habitat and the second widest variety of fish species (equal to Alternative 3) (Table 20a & 20b). The northern extension adds a high concentration of birds and invertebrates. This proposal also has the greatest number of reserves (excluding Alternative 5, the preferred alternative), including the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, which contains a very diverse invertebrate community. This boundary also encompasses the most shipwreck sites and the largest number of canyons (89 percent of those in the study area). This is the only alternative with as many upwelling zones (3) as Alternative 5. It is also ranked second in total number of water quality monitoring stations. Because of its northern extent, it is estimated to contain over 360 million barrels of oil and 550 billion cubic feet of natural gas (second only to preferred Boundary Alternative 5) (Table 20a & 20b). This alternative includes important commercial shipping fairways that enter and exit San Francisco Bay. Lands adjacent to Alternative 4 include four major commercial fishing ports. The heavily populated communities that border this Sanctuary alternative are experiencing rapid commercial and residential development. Non-point runoff from urban lands is highest (excluding Alternative 5) in this area.

Figure 33: Boundary alt 4

Table 20a: Summary of human uses

Table 20b: Summary of resources

F. Boundary Alternative 5 (Preferred) [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

This boundary alternative, the preferred alternative and study area, is a composite of proposals 3 and 4 (Figure 34). The northern terminus of the boundary is located along the southern boundary of the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and runs westward to approximately 123š07'W. The boundary then extends south in an arc which generally follows the 500 fathom isobath. At approximately 37š03'N, the boundary arcs south to 122š25'W, 36š10'N, due west of Partington Point. The boundary again follows the 500 fathom isobath south to 121š41'W, 35š33'N, due west of Cambria. The boundary then extends shoreward towards the mean high-water line. This boundary excludes a small area of approximately 71 square nautical miles off the north coast of San Mateo County and the City and County of San Francisco. The landward boundary is defined along the mean high-water line. The harbors of Monterey, Moss Landing (excluding Elkhorn Slough), Princeton, and Santa Cruz are excluded from this alternative.

The excluded area (described above) encompasses the anticipated discharge plume of the combined sewer overflow component of the City and County of San Francisco's sewage treatment program, the shipping channel providing access to and from San Francisco Bay, and the Golden Gate dredged material disposal site associated with this channel. NOAA has determined that the nature and level of these activities are not appropriate for inclusion within a national marine sanctuary. By excluding this small area from the Sanctuary, NOAA will be able to focus Sanctuary management on the long-term protection of other areas that contain nationally significant resources and qualities and are less heavily impacted by human activity. By excluding the anticipated discharge plume of the combined sewer overflow from the sanctuary, a buffer zone has been created protecting sanctuary resources and qualities from the discharge.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

Species from 31 of the 33 invertebrate phyla have been found in this region. Within this preferred boundary alternative, there are four endangered species of turtles and 94 species of birds occupying 23 rookeries/colonies (Table 21a & 21b). There are also five species of pinnipeds, including rapidly declining populations of Northern Fur Seals and Steller Sea Lions, using nine rookeries/colonies. This area also contains 20 species of cetaceans, many endangered. The preferred alternative includes the entire California Sea Otter Refuge and over 1,000 historical sites. There are three major areas of upwelling of nutrient-rich waters and corresponding periods of high primary productivity, along with large areas of kelp, wetlands, and canyons. There are numerous human activities within and adjacent to this area (Table 21a & 21b).

Figure 34: Boundary alt 5

Table 21a: Summary of human uses

Table 21b: Summary of resources

G. Boundary Alternative 6 [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

Proposed boundary alternative 6 would begin at Pescadero Point and proceed on a southwesterly heading of 240š out three nautical miles (Figure 35). This alternative then proceeds south along the State water boundary to a point of 240š off Table Rock, where it then runs on a southwesterly heading of 240š to 36š50'N latitude. The boundary then proceeds due west along this latitude to a point 46 nautical miles from Moss Landing. Finally, the boundary moves southward along an arc drawn from Moss Landing, with a radius of 46 nautical miles, to 36š10'N latitude and then proceeds due east to Partington Point.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

Boundary Alternative 6 has similar resource values and onshore activities as Alternatives 1, 2, and 7; including the same number of water quality stations, historical sites, protected areas, and kelp beds (Table 22a & 22b). About one-half of the highly concentrated areas of cetaceans within the study area are relatively equally distributed throughout this boundary alternative. The fissiped and pinniped rookeries/colonies are found mostly in the southern portion of this alternative. Unlike Boundary Alternative 1, however, it extends much further offshore. Consequently, it includes the major commercial fishing grounds around Monterey Canyon. This boundary was drawn to exclude Federal waters of high oil and gas resource potential and, as a result, less than one million barrels of oil and only three billion cubic feet of natural gas are estimated to occur in the Federal submerged lands in this alternative (Table 22a & 22b).

Figure 35: Boundary alt 6

Table 22a: Summary of human uses

Table 22b: Summary of resources

H. Boundary Alternative 7 [Part III TOC]

1. Geography [Part III TOC]

This alternative is a variation of Boundary Alternative 1, with a seaward extension over the Monterey Bay Canyon (Figure 36). Boundary Alternative 7 intersects Boundary Alternative 1 at longitude 122šW, then proceeds seaward along the 500 fathom isobath on the northern side of the Monterey Canyon. This alternative then runs due westward along latitude 36š46'N to longitude 122š30'W, then due south along longitude 122š30'W to latitude 36š30'N. The boundary then turns eastward to intersect with the 100 fathom isobath off Point Lobos where it turns southward along the state water boundary line to eventually proceed shoreward off Partington Point.

2. Distinguishing Characteristics [Part III TOC]

Most resource values are similar to Alternatives 1, 2, and 6. It has one of the smallest percentages of rockfish and squid spawning habitats (Table 23a & 23b). It also has the second smallest area of canyon, as it focuses only on the Monterey Canyon. Higher concentrations of fissipeds occur in the southern section of this proposed alternative. Pinnipeds are concentrated in the central area and seabirds are mostly within the northern and central portions. Boundary Alternative 7 was designed to exclude all areas that were included in the Minerals Management Service (MMS) Lease Sale 119 (now canceled). It is estimated to contain 80 million barrels of oil and about 110 billion cubic feet of natural gas, the same as Boundary Alternative 1 (Table 23a & 23b). Most measures of human use are also the same as for Alternative 1.

Figure 36: Boundary alt 7

Table 23a: Summary of human uses

Table 23b: Summary of resources

Section II

Part III Table of Contents

I. Section: Boundary Alternatives III-5
A. Introduction III-5
B. Boundary Alternative 1 III-6
1. Geography III-6
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-6
C. Boundary Alternative 2 III-10
1. Geography III-10
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-10
D. Boundary Alternative 3 III-14
1. Geography III-14
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-14
E. Boundary Alternative 4 III-18
1. Geography III-18
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-18
F. Boundary Alternative 5 (Preferred) III-22
1. Geography III-22
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-22
G. Boundary Alternative 6 III-26
1. Geography III-26
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-26
H. Boundary Alternative 7 III-30
1. Geography III-30
2. Distinguishing Characteristics III-30

II. Section: Regulatory Alternatives

III-34
A. Introduction III-34
B. Oil, Gas and Mineral Activities III-40
1. Status Quo III-40
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-40
b. Impact to Resources III-40
c. Impact to Uses III-41
2. Sanctuary Alternative 1 III-41
a. Sanctuary Action III-41
b. Impact to Resources III-42
c. Impact to Uses III-42
3. Sanctuary Alternative 2 (Preferred) III-42
a. Sanctuary Action III-42
b. Impact to Resources III-43
c. Impact to Uses III-43
C. Discharges or Deposits III-44
1. Status Quo III-44
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-44
(1) Point Source Discharges III-45
(2) Non-Point Source Discharges (NPS) III-45
(3) Hazardous waste, oil and trash disposal III-46

(4) Ocean dumping

III-47
b. Impact to Resources III-47
c. Impact to Uses III-48
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) III-49
a. Sanctuary Action III-49
b. Impact to Resources III-49
c. Impact to Uses III-50
(1) Vessels III-51
(2) Dredge Disposal Activities III-51
(3) Point Source Discharges III-52
(4) Non-Point Source Discharges (NPS) III-54
D. Historical Resources III-55
1. Status Quo III-55
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-55
b. Impact to Resources III-55
c. Impact to Uses III-56
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) III-56
a. Sanctuary Action III-56
b. Impact to Resources III-56
c. Impact to Uses III-57

E. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed

III-58
1. Status Quo III-58
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-58
b. Impact to Resources III-58
c. Impact to Uses III-59
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) III-59
a. Sanctuary Action III-59
b. Impact to Resources III-59
c. Impact to Uses III-59
F. Taking Marine Mammals, Turtles and Seabirds III-61
1. Status Quo III-61
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-61
b. Impact to Resources III-61
c. Impact to Uses III-61
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) III-61
a. Sanctuary Action III-61
b. Impact to Resources III-62
c. Impact to Uses III-62

G. Overflights

III-63
1. Status Quo III-63
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-63
b. Impact to Resources III-63
c. Impact to Uses III-63
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) III-63
a. Sanctuary Action III-63
b. Impact to Resources III-64
c. Impact to Uses III-64
H. Operation of "Personal Water Craft" III-66
1. Status Quo III-66
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-66
b. Impact to Resources III-66
c. Impact to Uses III-66
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) III-66
a. Sanctuary Action III-66
b. Impact to Resources III-67
c. Impact to Uses III-69
I. Vessel Traffic III-70

1. Status Quo (Preferred)

III-70
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-70
b. Impact to Resources III-70
c. Impact to Uses III-72
2. Sanctuary Alternative III-73
a. Sanctuary Action III-73
b. Impact to Resources III-73
c. Impact to Uses III-74
J. Fishing, Kelp Harvesting and Aquaculture III-75
1. Status Quo (Preferred) III-75
a. Existing Regulatory Framework III-75
b. Impact to Resources III-75
c. Impact to Uses III-79
2. Sanctuary Alternative III-81
a. Sanctuary Action III-81
b. Impact to Resources III-81
c. Impact to Uses III-81

III. Section: Management Alternatives

III-82
A. Introduction III-82
B. Alternatives III-82
1. Status Quo III-82
2. Sanctuary Management Alternative 1 III-82
3. Sanctuary Management Alternative 2 (Preferred) III-82

 

 

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