Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

MBNMS EIS banner
III. Section: Human ActivitiesI

EIS Navigation

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:
Part IX

Part II Table of Contents

III. Section: Human ActivitiesI [Part ]

A. Fishing [Part II TOC]

1. Commercial Fishing [Part II TOC]

The Monterey Bay area has a large and economically important commercial fishing industry. The major commercial fishing ports are Princeton, Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey. Table 12, derived from California Department of Fish and Game statistics, shows a summary of the poundage and ex-vessel value (greater than $20,000) of landings of some of the commercial species at the four major ports in the study area. In 1987, a total of over 34 million pounds of fish with an ex-vessel value of almost $15 million was landed at Moss Landing, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Princeton. The retail value of the fish to the local economy is worth two to three times that of the ex- vessel value. The diversity of the commercial catch is shown by the number of different species or species groups landed at each port: 89 at Monterey, 69 at Moss Landing, 59 at Santa Cruz, and 71 at Princeton. These statistics also include shrimp, crab, octopus, squid, eels, lobster, abalone, and sea urchins.

There are five main types of commercial fisheries in the Monterey Bay area: 1) a troll (hook-and-line) fishery for salmon and albacore, 2) a trawl fishery for the various species of rockfish and flatfish, 3) a gill and trammel net fishery for California halibut, rockfish, and white croaker, 4) a roundhaul and lampara net fishery for squid, anchovy, and herring and 5) a trap fishery for dungeness and rock crab. Figures 15 and 16 show the location of primary commercial fishing areas and types of gear utilized.

There are approximately 6 to 15 gill-net boats; 8 trawlers using a mixture of otter trawls and roller trawls; and one to three trap boats participating in the commercial fishery off Monterey Bay (Personal Communication, Marine Resources Division, Monterey Bay area, CDF&G, March 1990).

2. Aquaculture [Part II TOC]

There are presently eleven mariculture operations within the area. Silverking Oceanic Farms in Davenport operates a silver and king salmon hatchery. Up to one million fish may be released to the ocean annually. These fish mature in the ocean with about two to three percent of them eventually returning to the farms to spawn where they are harvested for sale. This company is planning to raise Atlantic salmon in pens for eventual sale.

Pacific Mariculture is involved in research to determine the feasibility of culturing abalone for sale to restaurants and markets. It is now completing research and development at the Long Marine Laboratory and recently received approval from Santa Cruz

Table 12: Fisheries Data

Figure 15: Trawl fishery

Figure 16: Line, Trap, Lampara and Gillnet Fisheries

County for production of abalone. Pacific Mariculture is the only bivalve mollusk hatchery in California. It produces oyster and clam seed for grow-out to other growers.

There are two inactive oyster leases (Danny Burns Shellfish and Monterey Bay Marine Farm) which are limited in their operations because of water quality problems in the Elkhorn Slough growing waters.

Sea Life Supply raises sea hares (a species of nudibranch or sea slug) in grow-out pens near the mouth of Elkhorn Slough. They are used for neurophysiological research. Until recently, Ocean Genetics, Inc. operated an algae research farm where a variety of forms of algae were grown for chemical extracts, such as agar and medicinal materials. A new company, Quantify, Inc., was recently started and is presently raising algae to produce phycobiliproteins.

A recent proposal is under consideration for a Monterey Bay salmon and trout project and chinook salmon enhancement program. The purpose of this project is to enhance the sport and commercial catches of chinook salmon in the Monterey Bay area by raising fry in the Elkhorn Slough area.

Granite Canyon Marine Laboratory of the California Department of Fish and Game is actively involved in aquaculture research. It is presently studying the feasibility of abalone aquaculture and planning some form of marine finfish aquaculture. Abalone West and Pacific Abalone Farms are each involved in red abalone research and development. 3. Kelp Harvesting

Kelp is harvested commercially for alginate extraction. Alginate is used in a large number of human use products, ranging from toothpaste to ice cream. KELCO, a San Diego based company has harvested Macrosystis pyrifera (Giant kelp) since 1970. KELCO harvests once a year and sometimes twice depending upon seasonal growing conditions. Almost all of the harvesting is done with a 4 to 5 miles area between Point Sur and Pfeiffer Point. Approximately 5,000 tons of kelp (wet weight) are harvested a year from the study area compared with approximately 151,000 tons of kelp (wet weight) harvested in 1990 from all of California, (primarily in southern California). KELCO uses 3 harvesting vessels, two of 400 wet ton capacity and one of 600 wet ton capacity.

Kelp is also harvested as food for abalone by four small aquaculture facilities (Foster, pers. comm., 1989). These companies use small vessels, less than 30 feet, and together harvest approximately 500 tons/yr.

B. Hydrocarbon and Mineral Activities [Part II TOC]

1. Oil and Gas [Part II TOC]

Activities in the Central California Planning Area began in 1963 when the first Federal OCS oil and gas lease sale resulted in the acceptance of bids for 29 tracts in the area off San Francisco. Twelve exploratory wells were drilled but no development occurred and all leases were relinquished in mid-1968.

The Minerals Management Service, within the U.S. Department of Interior, is authorized to prepare and implement 5-year plans which identify the federal waters to be opened for offshore oil drilling. The Monterey Bay Sanctuary study area lies within the Central California Planning Area (Figure 17). MMS estimates that the high case conditional mean estimate of the undiscovered, economically recoverable oil resource for the entire Central California Planning Area is 530 million barrels and 920 billion cubic feet of gas (Cooke and Dellagiarino, in press). Conditional mean values for oil resource within the Sanctuary study area is 370 million barrels and 580 cubic feet of gas (MMS Pacific Regional Office, 1991). (Conditional mean estimates for all proposed boundary alternatives are provided in Figure 17). The first lease sale scheduled for the Central California region was Lease Sale #119 which was subsequently canceled in 1990.

The latest draft proposal Comprehensive Program for OCS Natural Gas and Oil Resource Management considers only studies and no leasing in the Central California area through 1997. Approval of this proposal is due in Mid-1992. Future 5-Year Plans may consider leasing other geographical areas within the central California planning area that may contain additional hydrocarbon resources. The current Federal Lease Sale process, which takes up to two years, includes public hearings, environmental studies, and recommendations from the Governor.

In July 1990, President Bush declared that OCS activities within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (the then-preferred Boundary Alternative #2) would be permanently prohibited. All state waters off central California have been designated by the State as an oil and gas sanctuary (Sections 6871.1 and 6871.2 of the California Public Resources Code). No oil and gas leasing is permitted within three miles of the California coast.

The six central California coastal counties (Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma) are cooperatively sponsoring a Central Coast Counties OCS Regional Studies Program to identify and assess the implications of potential offshore oil development in the Central Coast area.

Figure 17: Oil and Gas Development

2. Sand Mining [Part II TOC]

Sand for commercial use has been dredged in the bay area for the last 70 years (Clark and Osborne, 1982). Deposits in the southern part of the bay, below the high tide line, are presently being mined by the Monterey Sand Company. This company operates sand extraction plants in Marina and Sand City. About 150,000 cubic yards of sand have been extracted every year since 1978, from the surf zone and ocean. The Monterey Sand Company had applied to the Department of the Army, Army Corps of Engineers, for authorization to continue its sand extraction activities but recently withdrew its request.

Lone Star Industries, Inc. operates a facility at Marina which dredges approximately 200,000 cubic yards./yr. of sand from an inland pond at the rear of the beach which is presumably naturally resupplied with coarse beach sand during high tides. Prior to 1987, Lone Star mined between 50,000 and 100,000 cubic yards./yr. at an additional facility in Sand City.

C. Vessel Traffic, Harbors and Dredging [Part II TOC]

1. Vessel Traffic [Part II TOC]

a. Commercial Shipping [Part II TOC]

Almost 9,000 commercial vessels (excluding domestic fishing craft) entered and exited the San Francisco Bay entrance in 1988 (Table 13). Of these, approximately 4,500 vessels (including those of foreign flag) transit south through the study area to and from San Francisco. The majority of these southern vessels were passenger and dry cargo vessels. Just under 25% of the vessels moving to and from San Francisco to the south, and through the Sanctuary study area, were tankers of medium size (draft less than 50 feet). In contrast, tankers approaching and exiting San Francisco to the north contain a large proportion (approx. 5%) of large tankers (draft greater than 50 feet).

Most of the commercial shipping along the coast follows customary north-south shipping lanes. Tankers loaded with oil from Alaska pass along the central coast of California approximately 85 nautical miles offshore from Point Sur and those bound for the Los Angeles area turn to the east at a point about 100 nautical miles southwest of Point Sur and then gradually approach the entrances to the Santa Barbara Channel (U.S. Coast Guard, 1983). Vessels travel in approximately a straight line between the end of the Santa Barbara Channel Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) and the San Francisco Bay entrance TSS (Texaco, 1989, in CMC, 1991) (Figure 18). These vessels would therefore travel within 10 to 15 miles of Point Sur. Approximately 27% of vessel traffic are within 0-5 miles; 36% within 6-10 miles; 17% within 11-15 miles and; 20% over 16 miles off headlands (CMC, 1991).

Table 13: Trips and drafts of vessels

Figure 18: Vessel traffic in Monterey Bay

The U.S. Coast Guard proposed to establish a routing system that amended the San Francisco Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) and the Santa Barbara Channel TSS and linked them with a Shipping Safety Fairway (SSF). The proposal is currently on hold as the U.S. Coast Guard responds to comments on the proposal.

Some commercial shipping vessels enter Monterey Bay. In 1986, a total of 5 vessels offloaded at either Monterey Harbor or Moss Landing Harbor (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1986). Until 1982, tankers delivered oil products to Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E) power generating plant at Moss Landing. The plant burns natural gas as its primary source and has the capability of burning either gas or oil. From 1982 to 1989 the plant returned to burning gas and is now using oil for its fuel source.

PG&E uses a permitted marine terminal for offloading oil from 50,000 DWT tankers. PG&E was denied permission to construct an offshore marine terminal for off-loading oil from 90,000 DWT tankers.

Oil tanker traffic may increase in the future depending on whether any OCS lease sales occur in the area and whether it is determined preferable to transport oil by pipeline versus by tanker. Further, maintenance and supply vessels for the offshore platforms would cause an increase in small vessel traffic in the area.

b. Commercial Fishing Vessels [Part II TOC]

Numerous commercial fishing vessels, including kelp harvesting boats, use the Monterey Bay area and many are based at one of the four harbors in the area. (For a discussion on numbers and types of fishing vessels see above under Fishing).

c. Research Vessels [Part II TOC]

The numerous marine research facilities in the area conduct frequent surveys and experiments from specially equipped research vessels. Research includes collecting biological samples to communication with submarines and guidance of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Research vessels may also conduct seismic surveys of the ocean floor to determine sub-seafloor geologic features.

d. Recreational Boating [Part II TOC]

Recreational boating in California is popular in the more sheltered environments of San Francisco Bay and around the Channel Islands of southern California. However, recreational fishing is an important use of the central California area and whale-watching trips are growing in popularity. Also, an annual speed-boat race for charity occurs across the mouth of Monterey Bay with boats reaching speeds of over 100 mph. Charter boats on the way to fishing grounds or nature-viewing areas can also reach speeds in excess of 25 knots.

2. Harbors [Part II TOC]

a. Santa Cruz Harbor [Part II TOC]

The City of Santa Cruz established in 1950 a special zone within the City limits for the harbor district, governed by a board of commissioners (Figure 19). Berths exist for 215 commercial fishing vessels and 759 recreational boats. The recreational use of this harbor is very high and it is not unusual to have 30 percent use of the slips during the weekends.

b. Moss Landing Harbor [Part II TOC]

The Moss Landing Harbor was created by special legislation in 1947 designating the Moss Landing Harbor District a political subdivision of the State of California (California General Laws §5118) (Figure 20). It consists of the harbor entrance, north and south harbors and Elkhorn Slough. The northern harbor is used primarily by recreational boats with 110 berths available. The southern harbor is used primarily by commercial vessels (approximately 2/3) with 488 berths available. The entrance is protected by two parallel jetties approximately 600 feet apart. Recently there is a proposal to extend the northern harbor by dredging tidal-mudflats to the north of existing berths.

c. Monterey Harbor [Part II TOC]

Monterey Harbor has had a long history of development and activity since the late 1700s (Figure 21). It was used by English and Russian ships that stopped for supplies and trade while on pelt and whale oil expeditions. It is owned and operated by the City of Monterey and has two wharves and two boat launch ramps. Commercial fishermen use 175 of the 425 available berths at the marina. An additional 150 moorings are available in open water between the breakwater and the two wharves.

d. Princeton/Pillar Point Harbor [Part II TOC]

San Mateo County Harbor District operates the Pillar Point Harbor in Princeton (Figure 22). It is the base for a large commercial fishing fleet, particularly salmon fishing vessels from all of California, as well as numerous small recreational boats. The harbor facilities include: 369 berths, 60 percent for commercial and 40 percent for recreational vessels; a fuel dock; a 100 ton ice facility; and a new 6 lane sport-fishing boat launch. Three commercial fish buyers are based in the port. A fishing pier and Johnson Pier provide recreational land-based fishing opportunities. Two outer breakwaters built in the 1960s and two more recent inner breakwaters built in 1984 provide excellent protection to the moored vessels.

Figure 19: Santa Cruz Harbor

Figure 20: Moss Landing Harbor

Figure 21: Monterey Harbor

Figure 22: Pillar Point

3. Dredging [Part II TOC]

Periodic dredging of sediments is required at Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey harbors to provide access to boaters as well as for safety concerns. The boat harbor of Santa Cruz is dredged annually removing 100,000 to 130,000 cubic yards of sand. Moss Landing harbor requires dredging every two to three years and about 50,000 cubic yards of material are removed a year. Monterey harbor only requires minor maintenance with removal of approximately 2,000 cubic yards of material (primarily sand) each year. Princeton Harbor does not yet conduct any dredging operations but may need to do so in the future. The entrance way to the Golden Gate within the northern portion of the study area also requires dredging to maintain the ship channel in and out of San Francisco Bay at a project depth of 55 feet.

4. Dredge Disposal [Part II TOC]

Most dredge material from Monterey and Santa Cruz harbors is composed of clean sand and is currently used for beach nourishment by being pumped directly to beaches east and south of the harbors. Two offshore sites are presently being used for dredged material disposal from Moss Landing harbor (Figure 23). Disposal of dredged material has occurred intermittently off the end of Sandholdt Pier at Moss Landing about 400 feet from shore since 1947 (Disposal Site SF- 12). When dredge spoils do not meet disposal criteria for beach nourishment, they must be taken by barge to a deep water disposal site near the head of the submarine canyon (Disposal Site SF-14) or to an appropriate land-based disposal site.

A Long-Term Management Strategy (LTMS) is underway by the EPA and Corps of Engineers to determine a location for the disposal of 400 million cubic yards of dredge material from San Francisco Bay and its entrance channel over a 50-year period. One of the five sites under consideration is currently used for the disposal of approximately one million cubic yards/yr. of sand that is dredged from the entrance channel and disposed of at a site approximately two nmi. due south (Figure 23).

D. Discharges, and Non-Dredge Material Dump Sites [Part II TOC]

1. Point Source Discharges [Part II TOC]

Appendix D provides a detailed breakdown of magnitude and effluent composition of point-source discharges by facility directly into the ocean and in adjacent watersheds. There are nine municipal and two industrial sources of discharges which empty directly into the ocean of the Monterey Bay study area (Figure 23).

Point source wastewater treatment plants and industrial discharges are major sources of pollutants in the northern and central areas (Figure 24). The PG&E plant discharges the vast majority of the total wastewater into the central area although the magnitude of pollutants associated with this discharge is small.

Figure 23: Ocean Discharge and dump sites

Figure 24: Total wastewater

The Carmel Sanitary District, and the Monterey regional water sewage system treat wastes to a secondary level. The Monterey Bay regional water sewage system located to the north of Marina, and managed by the MRWPCA, has been operational since February, 1990. The treatment plant replaces small treatment plants at Monterey, Seaside, Fort Ord, Salinas, and Castroville (Marina will tie into this regional system at a later date, probably in 1992). The outfall associated with the new system receives the collective wastes from the five small treatment plants mentioned above. A 40% increase in capacity was planned into this regional system to handle the anticipated regional growth in population through at least 2005. The present population of 544,000 people in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties is projected to increase to 755,000 by the year 2005 (AMBAG, 1987).

The City and County of San Francisco operates the Richmond- Sunset water pollution control plant, located at the west end of Golden Gate Park. The plant provides primary treatment for an average dry weather flow of approximately 22 million gallons per day (mgd). The plant serves the western third of the city, a primarily residential area with a population of about 200,000 and little industry. Plant effluent is discharged to the Pacific Ocean via a 4.5 mile long outfall.

The City of San Francisco also has a combined sewer overflow system. During wet weather periods, effluent from the plant increases to a maximum of 45 mgd, and the ocean outfall also receives up to 100 mgd of decant from the Westside Transport. The Westside Transport stores combined sewer overflows and removes floatable material and some settleable solids prior to discharge. Decant is discharged to the outfall an average of 26 times per year; the actual frequency and volume varies depending on rainfall conditions. Decant is also discharged to the shoreline at 8 locations an average of 8 times per year; this discharge is regulated by a separate NPDES permit.

The City of San Francisco is also constructing a new Oceanside plant to take the place of the Richmond-Sunset plant. The new plant will be located in the southwest corner of the city and will provide full secondary treatment. The plant will have approximately the same capacity as the existing plant, with a peak wet-weather capacity of 65 mgd (maximum of 43 mgd receiving secondary treatment. Plant construction started in January 1990, and will be completed by December 1993.

The City of Santa Cruz is using two ocean outfall pipelines to dispose of treated sewage. The main outfall pipeline is 12,250 feet in length, and discharges effluent one mile from shore into 110 feet of water. A secondary outfall pipe is used only during peak wet weather flows. This is the city's original ocean outfall pipe and it is only 2,000 feet in length. The City WWTP is being improved and upgraded to treat sewage to a secondary level.

The City of Watsonville also discharges primary sewage directly into Monterey Bay. Watsonville is in the process of obtaining a waiver renewal postponing secondary treatment of their sewage. This permit will allow Watsonville to continue discharging primary treated sewage for another 5 years from the date of the permit.

The PG&E plant discharges cooling water at an elevated temperature and National Refractories discharges seawater with an altered ionic composition after removing magnesium. In addition, numerous dischargers within the watersheds adjacent to the Monterey Bay study area, discharge into rivers and tributaries that eventually flow into the Sanctuary waters. For example, the cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill, located outside the coastal counties, have adopted a Long Term Wastewater Management Plan to provide wastewater treatment and disposal capacity to accommodate the projected growth of the two cities. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for this project was challenged and after revising the EIR to satisfy the issues raised a decision was reached in March 1991 to certify the EIR. The cities are now proceeding in three phases with the development of the discharge project. The first phase is the design for expansion of the existing plant to a secondary treatment level with nitrogen removal to 10 mg/l. The discharge of 7.1 million gallons per day will be disposed of entirely on land. Construction of the expansion is planned for 1992 and operation in 1994. Throughout these phases the Cities will continue studies and research to assist with plans for discharge to the Pajaro River during the winter months (Ross, pers. comm., April, 1990).

All major point-source municipal dischargers into the ocean and adjacent to the Monterey Bay study area are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that contains terms and conditions requiring monitoring of effluent to ensure water quality standards are maintained. For example, the City of Santa Cruz performs over $150,000 ocean monitoring annually and analyzes 100 water quality parameters, 28 with set limits.

Two desalination projects are proposed for the Monterey Bay area to provide an alternative source of freshwater supply to the surrounding communities. Both projects are still in their planning phases and final locations and magnitudes of discharge have yet to be determined.

Desalination plants can be used to purify seawater, brackish ground water, or treated waste water. With the recent drought in California, coupled with escalating population growth and water delivery problems, central coastal areas including Monterey Bay are considering the construction of desalination facilities.

While it is a proven and effective technology that has been widely used in the Middle East and in the Caribbean, the desalination of seawater has not been attempted until now in the continental United States. This has been primarily due to the high costs associated with seawater desalination compared to other sources of drinking water. The United States has over 1000 small plants that desalinate brackish groundwater. Although used principally for industrial uses, many plants provide drinking water, especially in Florida, where ground water must be treated before use.

The first sea water desalination plant in the United States was opened by the U.S. Navy on San Nicholas Island in late 1990. A second facility, to be operated by the Southern California Edison, is scheduled to open on Santa Catalina Island. The Navy unit will produce fresh water at a cost of $1,625 per acre-foot (AF?5,851 gals.), which is substantially cheaper than the cost of barging water to the island.

A number of technologies have been developed for desalination, including vapor compression, ion exchange, electrodialysis, distillation, and reverse osmosis. Two of these technologies, distillation and reverse osmosis (R/O) are being considered for seawater desalination in California. Plants can be built as separate units or in combination with electricity generating plants, where the waste heat is used for the desalination process. In distillation, water is heated until it is turned into steam and the salt and other contaminates are left behind. When the steam is condensed it becomes very pure water, In reverse osmosis, the seawater is passed through a thin plastic membrane with pores so small they only allow water molecules to penetrate.

While approximately 65 percent of all desalinated water worldwide is produced by distillation, virtually all of the U.S. plants are based on reverse osmosis, including those on San Nicholas Island and Santa Catalina Island. An emergency plant proposed to be built at Santa Barbara, California in late 1991, will be a reverse osmosis facility. The high costs of reverse osmosis facilities are for the production and maintenance of the sophisticated plastic membranes and for powering the pumps that provide the high pressures necessary to force water through the filters.

An advantage of reverse osmosis is that the operation requires about 50 percent less energy than distillation, and the feed water does not have to be heated. Another advantage of the R/O plants is that they take up less area than distillation plants and can be rapidly assembled in small modular units. The fouling of R/O membranes is the most serious disadvantage, as the plants must be shut down when they are cleaned or replaced. In the Monterey Bay area, there is one existing industrial desalination operation and several proposals for producing drinking water from desalinated seawater. Exhaust steam from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company power plant at Moss Landing is used in the Mechanical Vapor Compressor Evaporator desalination unit. The plant, which was licensed before 1950, produces 480 AF/year (475,000 gals/day) of 1 ppm product water, which is used in the power plant turbines.

The Sterling Hotel/ Conference Center in Sand City was approved by Sand City in 1985 but was disapproved by the California Coastal Commission that same year, in part, because of a discrepancy between the proposed water use and the Land Use Plan's allocation of water. A revised proposal was submitted that included a much lower level of water use, which would still exceed that allowed by LUP, but the excess water would be provided by a desalination plant. The plant would utilize reverse osmosis and would produce 20 AF/year (18,000 gpd). The intake water would be taken from a ground well. The project is still under review by the Coastal Commission.

In February 1991, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management Board contracted for a study to investigate seven different sites for the feasibility and costs of a desalination plant. In April 1991, Boyle engineering reported to the board that the most promising location for a desalination plant to serve the Peninsula was the Marina site of the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency. The second ranked site was the most landing PG&E power plant and the third most promising site was the abandoned Monterey waste water treatment plant across from the Naval Postgraduate School on a beach owned by the Marina Water District.

Although the Marina site appears to be the best location, it would need a new intake pipe from Monterey Bay for feed water. Another drawback for the two top-ranked sites is that eight or fifteen miles of connecting line would have to be constructed, respectively, to tie a plant into Cal-Am Water Co's northern most water mains.

To a certain extent, the site that is ultimately selected for the 3 million gallon/day plant will dictate the technology that is used. The favored Marina Regional plant could probably use reverse osmosis or distillation. The Moss Landing site might be best suited for a hybrid plant combining R/O and distillation. PG&E is doing an independent assessment of the Moss Landing location and is expected to complete a report in late spring. Regardless of the site selected, the District would have to get permits from up to seven different federal agencies, seven state agencies, three county agencies and two city departments.

In addition to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District's proposal, the Marina Water District has contracted for a feasibility study of desalination plants, either inland or along the coast. They propose to build a plant that would produce 1,000 AF/year (0.9 million gpd), which would supply approximately 1/3 of the water needs of the City of Marina. The plant would most likely use reverse osmosis technology. If the plant is built on the coast, the preferred site would be at Marina's waste water treatment plant, located just to the south of the regional Water Pollution Control plant.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is planning to build a reverse osmosis desalination unit on site to provide water for their toilets. The unit would produce a maximum of 48 AF/year (43,000 gpd), but the average production is estimated to be about 24 AF/year (21,500 gpd). The quality of the water produced would be about 400 ppm and would cost $1,800/AF. The brine would be mixed with the seawater used in the aquarium before it is discharged. Proponents of Monterra Ranch, a housing subdivision planned alongside the Monterey-Salinas Highway, have also applied to Monterey County for permits to build their own desalination plant.

Another source of point source pollution is the garbage generated and disposed of by ships during their ocean voyages as well as by smaller boats in harbors and marinas. Because of studies by the National Academy of Sciences and by the U.S. Coast Guard, ports are now required under regulations implementing Annex V of MARPOL, to provide reception facilities for vessel garbage. Thus "ports of call" receive wastes that were traditionally disposed of in the ocean.

2. Non-Point Source Discharges [Part II TOC]

Non-point source discharges includes runoff from urban, cropland, forest and pasture and range sources as well as irrigation return flow and upstream sources. Non-point source discharges is the major source of pollution to the entire Monterey Bay area (Figure 24). Only natural forest runoff contributes non-point source pollution to the southern portion of the study area and this is negligible when compared to the magnitude of pollutants entering the entire study area. By far the greatest pesticide loading occurs in Monterey County reflecting the extensive, highly productive agricultural activities of Salinas Valley (Figure 25). For a detailed breakdown and comparison of pollutant input from point and non-point sources into the different regions of the study area, consult Appendix D.

3. Non-Dredge Material Dump Sites [Part II TOC]

There are three military areas used, (either currently or in the past), for the disposal of explosives and wastes (Figure 23). First, part of an inactive explosive dumping ground occurs in the northern portion of the study area. Second, also in the northern portion of the study area, lie the remains of the USS INDEPENDENCE. This was a small aircraft carrier used as a target ship during the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests in 1947. It was sunk as a target during testing of aerial and undersea weapons off of Central California in 1951. Third, the dunes and adjacent ocean waters off of Fort Ord contain many spent rounds of ammunition fired by the army during practice drills at target ranges on the dunes. Many rounds missed the targets and ended up in the dunes or in the ocean where the steel-jackets of the bullets erode leaving behind a lead core. Finally, limited studies at the Fort Ord site itself, show both soil and groundwater are contaminated from the storage of hazardous wastes on-site. Groundwater movement, surface water runoff and erosion of the dunes provide pathways for the discharges and deposits on-site to enter the central portion of the Sanctuary study area.

Figure 25: Pesticide Use

E. Military Activity [Part II TOC]

Throughout the study area there are numerous areas of military activity representing all branches of the armed forces (Figure 26). There are two military activity areas within Monterey Bay itself. The U.S. Army administers a restricted firing range impact area extending 8,000 yards offshore from its Fort Ord installation (with more strict limits extending 5,000 yds offshore). Its purpose is to provide a safety buffer for the public against stray rounds from the small arms firing ranges. Activities are prohibited in the restricted area on days when the ranges are being used. The recent closing of Fort Ord will terminate this activity. This danger zone is also utilized for Navy mine warfare operations from February 16 through July 31 each year.

The U.S. Navy has an operating area in the northeast section of the Bay that can be used for mine sweeping practice maneuvers. Minehunting training is conducted by Navy minesweeping ships in this section of Monterey Bay eight times a year and each exercise lasts about one week. Inert metal shapes are placed (or moored) on the bay floor and are located only by sonar; nothing is dragged through the water during these training exercises and all objects are recovered after completion (Capt. Larson, Pers. Comm., August, 1989). On occasion the U.S. Marines practice amphibious landings on the beaches adjacent to these two areas.

The northern portion of the study area overlaps with portions, or entire areas, of submerged submarine operating areas. During non- explosive torpedo practice firing, all vessels are cautioned to keep clear of Naval Target Vessels flying a large red flag from the highest masthead.

A Warning Area (W-285) exists to the west of the proposed Sanctuary and overlaps the western boundary of the study area (approximately 992 square nautical miles). It is in frequent use

Figure 26: Military Training areas

for both air and surface training -- 700 scheduled uses occur per month (Capt. Larson, Pers. Comm., August, 1989). Air activities include aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings, and low-level air combat maneuvering. This activity results in the expenditure of smoke markers, sonobuoys and non-explosive ordnance in the Warning Area.

A military air training route (IR-207) exists across the proposed Sanctuary starting from between Carmel and Monterey and proceeding northwest. It is used exclusively for air navigation at an altitude of 3000 feet above mean sea level with approximately 30 flights per month (Capt. Larson, Pers. Comm., August, 1989).

Finally, the southern portion of the study area overlaps with a small corner of the Pacific Missile Range.

F. Research and Education [Part II TOC]

The highly diverse biota and the physical features of Monterey Bay combine to provide outstanding opportunities for scientific research. The wide variety of habitats are all readily accessible to researchers. There are thirteen research and/or education programs in the entire study area (Figure 27).

The Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University is located in Pacific Grove. The main research effort is in using intertidal organisms to study cellular and developmental biology, immunology, and neurobiology. Research is also conducted on the ecology of the rocky intertidal zone of the Hopkins Marine Life Refuge located offshore of the laboratory.

The Naval Postgraduate School is operated by the U.S. Navy in Monterey. Research is conducted exclusively on physical oceanography. The school shares access to the research vessel maintained by Moss Landing Laboratories.

NOAA's Center for Ocean Analysis and Prediction, located in Monterey, adjacent to numerous State facilities, assists in the distribution of NOAA's ocean and atmospheric data to local users at universities as well as other State and Federal agencies.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories of San Jose State University conducts research in many fields, e.g., oceanography, geology, invertebrates, ichthyology, marine algae, and marine mammal and seabird behavior. The Laboratory facilities, located at Moss Landing, were destroyed in the recent Loma Prieta earthquake. Their activities are being continued at a temporary location in Salinas. The Laboratories operate the R/V Point Sur for research cruises.

Figure 27: Research and education facilities

The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), managed in partnership between the Federal Government (NOAA's Sanctuaries and Reserves Division) and California's Department of Fish and Game, is one of eighteen such sites in the Nationwide NERR system. Elkhorn Slough NERR is managed to provide a natural outdoor laboratory setting that attracts researchers from all fields of oceanography and limnology. Information gained from the research is provided to local, state and Federal decision-makers to assist in the management of the Nation's coastal zone. In addition, trained volunteers as well as CDF&G staff lead interpretive walks through Elkhorn Slough NERR trails on the Reserve showing the diverse habitats and organisms of a productive salt-marsh ecosystem.

The Long Marine Laboratories and the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of California at Santa Cruz conducts research on cetaceans, pinnipeds (especially at Año Nuevo), sea otters, invertebrates, and plankton.

Granite Canyon Marine Laboratory of the California Department of Fish and Game is located on the Big Sur coast. In addition to its involvement in mariculture research, it is presently conducting two large studies in marine toxicology. The Marine Bioassay Project is developing sensitive tests using marine species for evaluating the toxicity of municipal/industrial effluents. The Oil Spill Cleanup Agent or Dispersant Toxicity Project is evaluating the toxicity and toxicological properties of oil spill dispersant, utilizing sensitive marine life forms (Michael Martin, pers. comm., 1989).

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is operated by a non-profit foundation, and not only displays some of the best marine aquarium facilities in the world but also conducts a variety of research through their Research Division. Research is primarily focused on the natural nearshore habitats of the Bay, especially the kelp forest communities and sea otters. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute was incorporated in May 1987. It is planning an extensive research project to study the Monterey Submarine Canyon. It will use the R/V Point Lobos to launch a remote-operated unmanned submarine to explore the deep waters of the canyon (S. Webster, personal communication, 1989).

The University of California Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur, south of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is part of a UNESCO international Biosphere Reserve, and protects and manages the lower portion of the 25 square mile Big Creek watershed. Limited research and educational programs are provided at the facility. The staff is now considering establishment of a permanent ecological refuge analogous to that at Point Lobos or the Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Finally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a small research station at Point Peidras Blancas and conducts frequent surveys of sea otters and seabirds that concentrate at Point Piedras Blancas.

Extensive marine and coastal education and interpretive efforts complement Monterey Bay's many research activities. For example, over 7 million visitors, assisted by 500 volunteer guides trained in interpreting the marine environment, have experienced the interpretive exhibits of the Monterey Bay Aquarium since it opened in fall of 1984. Over 70,000 school children participate in aquarium education programs each year (J. Packard, personal communication, 1989). A number of other institutions have highly successful interpretive programs as well. For example: Pt. Lobos Ecological Reserve, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Long Marine Laboratory and Año Nuevo State Reserve all have excellent docent programs serving the public, and marine related programs for school groups and teachers (J. Packard, personal communication, 1989). In addition, marine related post-secondary and/or postgraduate education is available through three local colleges: the University of California Santa Cruz; Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and the Naval Postgraduate School.

The soon to be completed Stanton Center will provide a new major Maritime and History Center in Monterey. The Stanton Center will house priceless historical artifacts, interesting and informative exhibits, history film and heritage education programs for both children and adults and in general increase the public's awareness of the importance of this Nation's maritime heritage.

G. Land Use [Part II TOC]

The majority of land adjacent to the Sanctuary study area is undeveloped forest and range land although large areas are used for agriculture in the central portion of the study area (Figure 28). The land adjacent to the southern portion of the study area is composed entirely of undeveloped range and forest land including the Los Padres National Forest. Major urban centers are found in the central portion of the study area at Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. To the north, Princeton, Pacifica and portions of San Francisco lie adjacent to the coast.

Commercial agriculture is an important activity in the land surrounding the bay primarily within the watersheds draining into the central portion of the study area (Table 14). Agriculture includes both irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture as well as semi- agricultural land uses (e.g. dairies, and feedlots). Monterey County was once known as "The Salad Bowl of the World" because of the wide variety of vegetables grown there.

Monterey County alone produces 90 percent of U.S. artichokes, 60 percent of its broccoli, 50 percent of its cauliflower and mushrooms, 25 percent of its celery, and up to 80 percent of its lettuce (Monterey County Agriculture, Food for Thought, 1988). Santa Cruz County agricultural production includes berries, fruits, nuts, vegetables, field crops (hay and pasture), nursery crops, and products from the apiary, poultry, and cattle industry. Strawberries were the most valuable crop in 1988 with a total value of 58 million dollars. Lettuce was the second most valuable at 18 million dollars, followed by roses (16 million), apples (14 million), and raspberries (almost 14 million). Total agricultural production for 1988 was 166 million dollars.

Figure 28: Land Use

Table 14: Land use by county

H. Coastal Development [Part II TOC]

The major population centers within the adjacent coastal counties to the study areas are growing steadily (Figure 29). Both commercial and residential unit development is concentrated in the central portion of the study area. Large growth has occurred in places such as Monterey, Marin, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Watsonville located along or adjacent to Monterey Bay. Almost 3,800 new homes were constructed every year in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties between 1970 and 1989. Development was greatest in the early 1970s, late 1970s and mid 1980s.

Associated with this development are increases in the need for seawalls to protect coastal property and facilities to gain access to the ocean such as docks, piers and jetties. In addition to direct physical changes to the coastline there are the indirect effects of this increased growth in terms of additional discharges and deposits via non-point source surface runoff or via groundwater and additional demands on point source discharges from sewage treatment plants.

I. Recreational Activities and Tourism [Part II TOC]

The moderate climate, rich diversity of marine flora and fauna, and variety of coastal types present many recreational opportunities for residents and tourists alike. The area is internationally renowned for its beauty and recreational opportunities. The recreation industry is worth approximately $641 million/year to San Mateo, Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties (Central Coast Regional Studies Program, Economic Values of the Central Coast, 1989).

1. Tourism [Part II TOC]

Monterey Bay has been a tourist attraction since the late 1800's. About 18 million tourists visit the area annually (AMBAG, 1978). The total number of tourists to Santa Cruz annually is 2.5 million (Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council, pers., comm, 1989). There were about 1.7 million overnight visitors to Monterey Peninsula in 1988 (Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, pers. comm., 1989). The primary recreational activities are sportfishing, boating, hiking, skindiving, sightseeing, nature observation, and surfing.

Figure 29: Coastal county pop. change

Many existing attractions are open to the public. The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in 1984 and currently attracts about 1.6 million visitors annually (S. Webster, per. comm., in Heimlich - Boran, 1988).

2. Coastal Recreation Areas [Part II TOC]

Shoreline and nearshore recreation occurs throughout the bay area, with concentrations from Point Lobos to Santa Cruz (Table 10). Almost all of these sites are managed by the state or local governments. Most of these sites are recreational beach areas and/or marinas providing access to Monterey Bay. The numerous public beaches account for 45 miles of coastline bordering the preferred boundary alternative.

The numerous protected areas of special environmental significance allow varying levels of public use. These include the Point Lobos Ecological Reserve, the Carmel Bay Ecological Reserve, the Año Nuevo State Reserve, the Pacific Grove Marine Garden Fish Refuge, the Hopkins Marine Life Refuge, and the California Sea Otter Game Refuge. The Año Nuevo State Reserve attracts over 140,000 visitors annually (Coastal Concern, 1989).

3. Recreational Boating [Part II TOC]

Recreational boating activities originate primarily in the harbors of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Moss Landing. Each harbor has a marina servicing recreational boaters, commercial fisherman, and partyboat charters. Approximately 2,100 boat slips are available in these harbors. All the marinas are full and have long waiting lists. Five boat ramps, one at Santa Cruz, and two each at Moss Landing and Monterey, are available for launching small boats from trailers. The boat ramp at Santa Cruz was used to launch approximately 8,000 boats in 1987 (Santa Cruz Port District, 1987). Overnight berths are available in the marinas for transient boaters. Recently a para- sailing company has begun to operate out of Santa Cruz. Once a year large speed boats participate in a charity race exceeding speeds of 100 miles per hour.

4. "Personal water craft" [Part II TOC]

The use of smaller speed vessels, termed "personal water craft", such as jet-skis or mini-motorboats has become a highly popular sport. Personal water craft are a relatively new form of water sport and while their popularity is increasing, they are currently operated in small numbers in the Monterey Bay area. In the northern part of the Bay, primarily around Santa Cruz, it is estimated that 12-16 vessels per day are operated on weekends during the summer months (6- month period, with 6-8 vessels operating on weekdays. During the winter only 6 vessels operate on weekends and 1-2 during the weekdays. The vessels are launched and recovered at a launch ramp in the Santa Cruz harbor area.

In the central portion of the Bay, primarily Moss Landing/Elkhorn Slough area, it is estimated that "dozens per month" operate during the summer. The vessels are launched and recovered at a launch ramp near the Yacht Club in the harbor area and have been seen to travel the length of Elkhorn Slough.

In the southern portion of the Bay, there are no estimates of vessel use but they are known to be on the increase. Vessels which are launched and recovered at the Coast Guard Pier launch ramp, are prohibited from the Monterey Marine area. There has been an increase in concern over the use of these vessels in the vicinity of local beaches, where the operators desire to ride the surf and jump waves. An ordinance is being considered to prohibit use of the so-called "thrill craft" in the "Window of the Bay" area of Monterey.

5. Recreational Fishing [Part II TOC]

Recreational fishing is a very popular activity both in Monterey Bay and the exposed coastal areas throughout the entire study area. Five major types of recreational fishing are pursued: private boat or skiff fishing, partyboat fishing, spearfishing, pier and shore (surf) fishing, and shellfishing. Skiff fishing is limited almost entirely to sheltered Monterey and Carmel Bays. Most of the skiff catch is made up of white croaker, several species of rockfishes, Pacific sanddab, lingcod, and mackerel (Table 15). The rugged nature of some sections of the coast make shorefishing impossible. Where the shoreline can be reached there is excellent rocky-shore fishing for lingcod, kelp greenling, cabezon, surfperch, and rockfishes. Most sandy beaches offer good surf fishing for surfperches and flatfishes (Table 15). Pier fishing is available on the public piers in Monterey, Seacliff State Beach, Capitola, and Santa Cruz. Jetties at Moss Landing harbor and Santa Cruz Small-Craft harbor provide good fishing for surfperch, starry flounder, and rockfishes. Table 15 also shows the main fish species caught from piers and jetties. Surf smelt and night smelt are netted in the surf off sandy beaches during certain months of the year.

Partyboats operate primarily out of Monterey, Moss Landing, and Santa Cruz harbor; a total of 25 were operating in 1987. The Big Sur coast is a very popular partyboat fishing area. Salmon, lingcod, mackerel, and many varieties of rockfish are the main species caught (Table 16).

Table 15: Major species of fish caught- Recreational

Table 16: Fish caught by commercial partyboat fleet

6. Intertidal Collecting [Part II TOC]

Clam digging in ocean waters has been all but eliminated because of sea otter foraging, while other shellfish such as limpets and mussels are harvested from rocky tidepools. Abalone were once collected on rocky shore areas but their numbers have dwindled from overharvesting and sea otter predation.

7. Diving [Part II TOC]

The Monterey Bay area is well known for recreational diving. The area from Cannery Row on the Monterey Peninsula to Point Lobos State Underwater Reserve is the most popular diving area in all of central and northern California. More than 70 percent of all diving between Point Conception and Oregon occurs in this area (U.S. Department of the Interior, 1987). Other underwater parks popular with divers include Carmel Bay State Underwater Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Underwater Park (McMillon, 1982). Rosenberg (1987) presents an excellent guide to diving in the Northern California and Monterey Peninsula area.

8. Nature Observation [Part II TOC]

Opportunities for nature observation include whale watching, viewing seabird nesting and roosting sites, and observing marine mammal pupping and haul-out areas. Partyboats are used for nature observation tours, including watching blue whale and migrating California gray whales. One company (Shearwater Journeys), which offers natural history boat trips, takes over 3,000 people each year out on Monterey Bay to view seabird and marine mammals (Sheila Baldridge, pers. comm., 1989) Rocky shorelines provide the hiker with the opportunity to view the fascinating flora and fauna associated with the rocky intertidal habitats. A seaplane operation at the Santa Cruz Municipal wharf provides nature observers opportunities to watch whale migrations from the air as well as provide emergency rescue service when necessary.

9. Surfing [Part II TOC]

Surfing is a popular activity throughout the bay area, especially at Pacific Grove, Moss Landing, Asilomar Beach, the mouth of the Big Sur river, and Santa Cruz. Throughout the entire study area there are 4 major sites in South Mateo County (south of Half Moon Bay), 32 in Santa Cruz County, 10 around the Monterey peninsula and 6 in Big Sur. Surfing accounts for a major source of revenue to the area (approximately $150 million per year to Santa Cruz alone) and special events such as the six day O'Neil Cold Water Classic ProSurf contributes $ 2.0 million alone. The main surfing season runs from late summer through early spring, although surfing continues year round (J. Young, pers. comm., 1989). Santa Cruz has been a major surfing area since the turn of the century. Its long history is traced in the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. Wind surfing has also increased in popularity in the last few years with major competition located in the small bay south of Año Nuevo.

Part II Table of Contents

I. Section: The Regional Context II-4
A. Sanctuary Location II-4
B. Regional Access II-5
II. Section: Sanctuary Resources II-6
A. Introduction II-6
B. Environmental Conditions II-7
1. Geological Oceanography II-7
2. Meteorology II-10
3. Physical Oceanography II-11
a. Waves II-11
b. Water Temperature II-12
c. Offshore Ocean Currents II-12
d. Upwelling and Eddies II-14
e. Nearshore coastal currents II-17
f. Freshwater input II-18
4. Water Quality II-18

C. Habitats

1. Introduction II-25
2. Submarine Canyon Habitat II-25
3. Nearshore Sublittoral Habitat II-27
4. Rocky Intertidal Habitat II-27
5. Sandy Beach Intertidal Habitat II-28
6. Kelp Forest Habitat II-28
7. Estuaries and Sloughs II-29

D. Biological Resources

1. Introduction II-31
2. Plankton II-31
3. Algae II-32
4. Invertebrates II-34
5. Fishes II-36
6. Seabirds II-40
7. Turtles II-44
8. Marine Mammals II-44
a. Pinnipeds II-44
b. Cetaceans II-48
c. Fissipeds II-50

E. Cultural and Historical Resources

1. Historic sites II-53
2. Shipwrecks II-54
F. Existing Protected Areas II-54
1. State Refuges and Reserves II-57
a. Ecological Reserves II-57
b. Game Refuges II-58
c. Marine Life Refuges II-59
d. Fish Refuge II-59
e. Marine Reserves II-60
2. State Historic Parks II-61
3. California State Park System and Beaches II-61

III. Section: Human Activities

A. Fishing II-63
1. Commercial Fishing II-63
2. Aquaculture II-63
3. Kelp Harvesting II-67
B. Hydrocarbon and Mineral Activities II-68
1. Oil and Gas II-68
2. Sand Mining II-70

C. Vessel Traffic, Harbors and Dredging

1. Vessel Traffic II-70
a. Commercial Shipping II-70
b. Commercial Fishing Vessels II-73
c. Research Vessels II-73
d. Recreational Boating II-73
2. Harbors II-74
a. Santa Cruz Harbor II-74
b. Moss Landing Harbor II-74
c. Monterey Harbor II-74
d. Princeton/Pillar Point Harbor II-74
3. Dredging II-79
4. Dredge Disposal II-79

D. Discharges, and Non-Dredge Material Dump Sites

1. Point Source Discharges II-79
2. Non-Point Source Discharges II-86
3. Non-Dredge Material Dump Sites II-86
E. Military Activity II-88
F. Research and Education II-90
G. Land Use II-93
H. Coastal Development II-96
I. Recreational Activities and Tourism II-96
1. Tourism II-96
2. Coastal Recreation Areas II-98
3. Recreational Boating II-98
4. "Personal water craft" II-98
5. Recreational Fishing II-99
6. Intertidal Collecting II-102
7. Diving II-102
8. Nature Observation II-102
9. Surfing II-102

IV. Section: Existing Resource Protection Regime

A. Introduction II-104
B. Federal Authorities II-104
C. State Authorities II-105
URL:    Reviewed: March 05, 2014
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer | User Survey
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |