V: MANAGEMENT PLAN
II. Section:Resource Protection
II. Section: Resource Protection
A. Introduction [Part V TOC]
The proposed designation of Monterey Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary focuses attention on the value of the area's resources and qualities. To ensure that these resources and qualities are protected, the Sanctuary resource and quality protection program includes: (l) statement of Sanctuary resource and quality protection goals; (2) promulgation of Sanctuary regulations, including procedures for working with existing regulatory authorities in cases of overlapping jurisdiction; (3) contingency planning and emergency response; (4) encouraging compatible use of the Sanctuary; and (5) surveillance and enforcement, including coordination of policies and procedures among the agencies sharing responsibility for resource protection and enforcement of Sanctuary regulations in addition to those
B. Goals [Part V TOC]
The highest priority management goal for the Sanctuary is the protection of its marine environment, resources and qualities. Many of the activities that affect the Sanctuary marine environment are presently governed by existing State and Federal regulations under the jurisdiction of many different agencies. When this occurs, a National Marine Sanctuary may serve the function of coordinating the activities of these management and regulatory agencies by specifically taking steps to:
- Coordinate policies and procedures among the agencies sharing responsibility for protection and management of resources;
- Encourage participation by interested agencies and organiza- tions in the development of procedures to address specific management concerns (e.g., monitoring and emergency-response programs);
- Develop an effective and coordinated program for the enforcement of Sanctuary regulations;
- Enforce Sanctuary regulations in addition to other regulations already in place;
- Promote public awareness of, and voluntary compliance with, Sanctuary regulations and objectives, through education and interpretive programs stressing resource sensitivity and wise use;
- Ensure that the water quality of the Sanctuary is maintained at a level consonant with Sanctuary designation;
- Establish memoranda of agreement and other mechanisms for coordination among all the agencies participating in Sanctuary management;
- Ensure that the appropriate management agency incorporates research results and scientific data into effective resource protection strategies;
- Reduce threats to Sanctuary resources and qualities.
C. Sanctuary Regulations [Part V TOC]
A summary of the existing regulatory regime in the area of the proposed Sanctuary and the proposed Sanctuary regulations are included in Part III of this document. The final regulations (Appendix B) describes the relationship between Sanctuary designation and other regulatory programs. The proposed Designation Document also includes a list of activities subject to regulation now or in the future.
To ensure protection of Sanctuary resources and qualities and conservation of Monterey Bay's valuable habitat, NOAA proposes eight additional regulations governing oil, gas and mineral activities; discharges and deposits (from both within and from outside of the boundaries); historical resources; alteration of or construction on the seabed; marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds; overflights and personal water craft. In addition, two regulations are proposed to aid the enforcement of the other regulations: a prohibition of possession of resources and one on interference with enforcement operations. Vessel traffic may be regulated in the future after SRD has consulted with the U.S. Coast Guard regarding threats to Sanctuary resources and qualities from vessel traffic and appropriate means of reducing those threats.
Kelp harvesting and aquaculture have also been added to the scope of future 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 future 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.
D. Contingency Plans [Part V TOC]
The resources of the Sanctuary are susceptible to natural and human-related changes. Many of these changes are gradual and can be detected only through long-term monitoring of environmental and biological indicators. However, certain sudden and catastrophic changes in conditions (due to an accidental oil spill or vessel grounding, for example) could seriously impact resources and present severe health and safety hazards.
1. Existing Capabilities [Part V TOC]
A number of Contingency Plans are presently in effect in the Monterey Bay area. Under the National Contingency Plan for the removal of oil and hazardous substances in coastal and ocean areas of EPA's Region IX (California, Nevada and Arizona), remedial action to control or remove this type of material that could endanger the public health is the responsibility of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) directed Regional Response Teams acting through an On-Scene Coordinator and a Regional Response Center. The USCG's hazardous materials mission under the Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan is to: (1) prevent spills, (2) investigate spills that may occur and (3) coordinate response between all responsible parties.
The Eleventh Coast Guard District, based in San Francisco, will provide Regional Response Center facilities. The On-Scene Coordinator will receive scientific support from NOAA and assistance as necessary from the Regional Response Team and other appropriate Federal and state agencies.
Assistance is also possible from private groups and industry. All of the relevant public and private agencies that would assist in a clean-up have Oil Spill Contingency Plans on file in the USCG Monterey Bay Office which are required to undergo periodic updates and approval by the USCG (LTJG Ray Perry, Personal Communication, April 5, 1989).
The Moss Landing Power Plant and Marine Terminal has an Oil Spill Contingency Plan that was most recently updated in November, 1988. Tankers that unload at the Moss Landing terminal carry an average of one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) barrels of oil. A boat, contracted by PG&E, equipped with portable skimmers, containment booms and other spill cleanup equipment accompanies the tanker during unloading. Two more boats are stationed at the plant docks, similarly equipped, but without crews. However, some Moss Landing PG&E employees are trained to operate the boats and equipment and are available on an "on-call" basis. The USCG can respond within 15 minutes and provide the necessary additional personnel, boats and equipment from the Monterey Coast Guard Station, if necessary (Carl Walker personal communication, May 4, 1989), although it will take longer for the USCG to also bring the necessary equipment.
Recently a group of local boat operators including fishermen and researchers have organized themselves to begin determining their capabilities during an ocean emergency. The group, the Professional Mariners Response Organization, conducted a small-scale emergency response drill using only a few boats (5) to determine the effectiveness of their equipment and the best means of providing assistance during a real emergency response (Lee Bradford, pers. comm. June, 1991). The U.S. Navy has a Contingency Planning Guide (Draft, 1987) that details the oil spill response equipment, operating personnel and spill response specialists that are available from the Supervisor of Salvage of the Naval Sea Systems Command for major spill response efforts. The Navy oil spill plans outline responsibility for all Navy spills such as those emanating from damaged Navy Fleet oilers or from Military Sealift Command chartered tankers. In addition a number of oil companies and organizations have Oil Spill Contingency Plans or Documents that are designed to provide information and logistical support to the responsible government agency, discharger and other interested agencies in the event of a spill. These organizations include: Exxon Company (April, 1980), Cities Service Oil and Gas Corporation (Draft April, 1986; revised, 1988), Atlantic Richfield Company (April, 1981) and the Western Oil and Gas Association (January, 1987). Finally, Clean Bay and Clean Seas are two industry-supported oil spill clean-up cooperatives operating in the San Francisco Bay and the Santa Barbara areas, respectively. The primary responsibility to develop oil spill prevention control techniques rests with management of each member company. However, the services, equipment and personnel of each cooperative are available to member, non-member and government agencies in each area of interest. The dividing line between the two cooperative areas of operations is at Cape San Martin. Therefore the resources of Clean Bay would be most relevant for oil spills in the Monterey Bay area although mutual assistance is available from each other's region. Clean Bay consists of 17 members including 6 oil refineries. The cooperative would have a 4 hour response time to Moss Landing, and 8 to 10 hours with the vessels located in Richmond. Within 6 to 7 hours Clean Bay could mobilize a plane located in Oakland and spray dispersants on the spill from the air. This type of dispersant action needs approval from the Coast Guard (Rick Willett, personal communication, May 18, 1989). Recent State (SB 2040) and Federal legislation (Oil Pollution Act) specifically address numerous additional response, as well as preventative, measures regarding vessel oil spills (see Appendix C for details regarding this legislation).
2. Sanctuary Action [Part V TOC]
Overall, the Monterey Bay USCG and the PG&E response capabilities only seem adequate for immediate response and for minor to moderate events. Based on their recent involvement in the Exxon Valdez spill, staff from the Monterey Bay Aquarium have concluded that the current Monterey Bay contingency plan for oil spill removal and wildlife recovery is inadequate (Julie Packard, personal communication, May 1, 1989).
One of the first management actions of the Sanctuary will be to run an emergency response exercise for an oil spill in the Sanctuary boundary. The intent of this exercise will be not only to test the adequacy of existing plans and the availability and effectiveness of the equipment allocated but also to provide an opportunity for existing emergency response agencies and personnel to work with the Sanctuary and to define each others roles and responsibilities.
A Marine Safety Office Contingency Plan is currently under review at the Coast Guard station in Monterey Bay. It is designed to incorporate and coordinate the above plans, resources and equipment in the event of a spill in the Monterey Bay region. Sanctuary personnel will work with the USCG during the preparation of this plan to identify those areas where the Sanctuary can assist and supplement necessary actions as well as take the lead in areas of Sanctuary expertise.
The Sanctuary program is preparing a National Plan with additional site specific plans, such as for Monterey Bay, that will recognize the need for ongoing training and importance of appropriate equipment on hand in the event of a large-scale emergency that will require long-term response and clean-up capabilities.
To provide further protection to Monterey Bay resources and qualities, the Sanctuary staff will assess the state of preparedness of the relevant parts of the contingency plans as they relate to the Sanctuary. This action will entail exchanging information with government and industry response teams and seeking their support in assessing detection and clean-up capabilities that can be used to protect Sanctuary resources and qualities and a possible trial simulation in Monterey Bay. In addition, and consistent with the National Marine Sanctuary Program Regulations (15 CFR Part 922), NOAA will provide the necessary resources and impetus to develop and implement a site-specific contingency and emergency-response plan designed to protect the Monterey Bay Sanctuary's resources and qualities. The plan shall contain alert procedures and actions to be taken in the event of an emergency such as a shipwreck or an oil spill. The plan will specify the role of the Sanctuary and with which action items it has lead responsibility versus providing assistance when requested by another lead agency.
A SRD-level contingency and emergency-response plan has been prepared for the Channel Islands and Key Largo National Marine Sanctuaries. A similar plan for the proposed MBNMS will be created that will:
- Describe emergency-response procedures and coordination requirements for SRD and Sanctuary staff;
- Provide a geographic information system depicting resources at risk;
- Outline procedures for emergency research; and
- Provide damage assessment guidelines.
In conjunction with this plan, agreements may be formulated to improve spill detection programs and augment containment capabilities (i.e., with additional equipment, staff, and deployment plans). These efforts will be closely coordinated with similar efforts to protect the Elkhorn Slough NERR.
E. Compatible Use of the Sanctuary [Part V TOC]
Encouraging the private and public uses of the Sanctuary, not prohibited pursuant to other authorities, in ways that are compatible with the primary objective of resource protection is an important aspect of the resource program. Thus the Sanctuary will:
- Encourage the public who use the Sanctuary to respect sensitive Sanctuary resources and qualities.
- Provide relevant information about Sanctuary regulations and use policies;
- Collaborate with public and private organizations in promoting compatible use of the Sanctuary; and
- Monitor and assess the levels of use to identify and control potential degradation of resources and minimize potential user conflicts.
- Monitor commercial and recreational activities in the Sanctuary and encourage other agencies to do so to detect areas of particular management concern;
- Collect and publicize information on commercial and recreational activities in the Sanctuary;
- Consulting with other agencies on policies and proposals for the management of activities which may affect protection of Sanctuary resources and qualities; and
- Developing educational materials aimed at enhancing public awareness of the Sanctuary's resources and qualities and their need for protection.
Monitoring and information exchange programs are discussed under research (Section III). The development of materials is discussed under education (Section IV).
F. Surveillance and Enforcement [Part V TOC]
1. Sanctuary Action and Coordination with Existing Agencies [Part V TOC]
A primary feature of the resource protection program is the surveillance of Sanctuary waters and enforcement of applicable regulations. Although a detailed enforcement plan has not been developed, NOAA, at present, envisions a State-Federal cooperative enforcement system involving the State of California Resources Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Park Service.
Since the proposed Sanctuary would include both State and Federal waters, close coordination between State and Federal authorities would be required. To achieve this objective the Sanctuary envisions an agreement where Federal Sanctuary officers are deputized to enforce existing State regulations and State enforcement officers are deputized to enforce Sanctuary regulations. All officers funded by NOAA would report directly to the Sanctuary manager and work full-time on Sanctuary management issues. This mutual deputization would foster a close working relationship between the State and the Sanctuary as well as assist in increasing mutual goals of enhanced resource protection.
Boats for both State and Federal officers would be made available by the Sanctuary to patrol the Sanctuary for not only education and enforcement purposes but also to increase the visibility of the Sanctuary and the public awareness of the Sanctuary.
A radio transmitter would be established from the local Sanctuary headquarters using a 100 Watt VHF transmitter to create coordinated network of enforcement personnel to assist with rapid response to diving or boating accidents or an oil spill response. Due to the geographic limits on the range of the transmitter to boats (30 mile max.) and from boat-to-boat (15 mile max.) and the large size of the proposed Sanctuary, repeaters would have to be established on towers along the coast to enable long-range communication. A dedicated frequency for Sanctuary operations would be made available using the existing dedicated frequency bands for government use.
The Sanctuary also intends to take advantage on either a regular basis or on an ad hoc basis, depending on availability, of NOAA aircraft that fly over the Sanctuary area that could provide additional assistance during enforcement actions or emergency responses. Aerial surveys could also be arranged for research purposes as well as assist in concentrating on-water actions to specific locations.
The USCG has broad responsibility for enforcing all Federal laws in navigable waters under U.S. jurisdiction. Where these laws regulate fishing harvests, the USCG works closely with the NMFS and the CDF&G. The CDF&G enforces Federal as well as California fishing regulations as applicable in state waters and the exclusive economic zone (200 miles from the State's coastal baseline) and acts as the primary agency for the enforcement of fishery regulations applying to Monterey Bay.
Sanctuary designation would have the effect of broadening USCG enforcement responsibilities to include the enforcement of Sanctuary regulations. Neither NOAA nor the USCG has the resources to conduct systematic surveillance and enforcement operations to ensure compliance with Sanctuary regulations. However, both the USCG and the State conduct operations in the area. The USCG would provide limited surveillance in conjunction with multi-mission, surface or aerial operations.
NOAA plans to rely on such observers from other agencies and cooperating organizations, including excursion and service boat operators, to assist in providing the surveillance information needed for the enforcement program. The enforcement program is expected to be sufficiently strong to deter widespread violation of Sanctuary regulations. However, in the event that analyses of use patterns after Sanctuary designation indicate that additional surveillance is required, NOAA will provide for more intensive enforcement to protect Sanctuary resources and qualities. The effectiveness of Sanctuary enforcement operations will be evaluated two years after Sanctuary designation and annually thereafter.
Sanctuary violations will be processed through the Southwest regional office of the NOAA General Counsel. In conjunction with the Sanctuary manager, the regional counsel will develop a civil penalty schedule for sanctuary violations. The regional counsel will issue a Notice of Violation Assessment (NOVA) to persons who violate sanctuary regulations based on reports from enforcement personnel.
Emphasis will also be placed on information development and dissemination as well as after-the-fact enforcement efforts. The interpretation and education program will therefore be important in engendering voluntary compliance with Sanctuary regulations.
2. Public Education and Information [Part V TOC]
Because the most effective enforcement is prevention, the Sanctuary education program will make every effort to inform users of the need to use the Sanctuary environment wisely. The focus of the first year of the education program will be to inform the public about the existence of the Sanctuary, its purpose and intent, its areal coverage and the National significance of its resources and qualities. Much of this effort will involve the preparation of easily understood brochures and other written materials on regulations, and the reasons for them. These materials will be made available to all Sanctuary users.
3. Planning and Coordination [Part V TOC]
Information obtained from the research program and from surveillance-enforcement activities on Sanctuary visitor use patterns, frequently occurring violations, and potentially sensitive resources, will be reviewed in periodic meetings between the Sanctuary Manager, the Sanctuary Advisory Committee and enforcement agency personnel to determine the adequacy of surveillance levels.