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APPENDIX C: RESPONSE TO COMMENT

Cover/Abstract
Table of Contents
Part I
Introduction
Part II
The Affected Environment
Part III
Alternatives Including Preferred Alternatives
Part IV
Consequences of Alternatives
Part V
Management Plan
Part VI
List of Preparers and Acknowledgements
Part VII
List of DSEIS/MP Recipients
Part VIII
References
Appendix A
NMSP Regulations
Appendix B
Proposed Rule for Jade Collection
Appendix C
Response to Comments
Appendix D
Existing Relevant Authorities
Appendix E
Abbreviations

APPENDIX C: Response to Comments

The following is a summary of the written and oral public comments received on the DSEIS/MP and proposed rule, and NOAA's response to them.

(1)

Comment: All comments support the proposed regulation allowing limited, small scale jade collection to occur in the Jade Cove area of the Sanctuary.

Response: No response necessary.

(2)

Comment: How were the boundaries for the area of jade collection chosen?

Response: NOAA consulted with jade collectors, artisans, divers, natural resource managers, and other knowledgeable parties, and received input from the Sanctuary Advisory Council, to determine the most commonly used area of traditional marine jade collection and selected the boundaries of the Jade Cove area to accommodate such traditional collection while still protecting the resources and qualities of the MBNMS.

(3)

Comment: The place name "north Plaskett Point" used in the proposed rule to identify the northern boundary of the jade collection area is not locally recognized. Please replace it with "south Sand Dollar Beach," which is a better known reference point. Specifically, there is a set of stairs located at south Sand Dollar Beach which coincides with the northern boundary of the collection area and is known to local residents and frequent visitors.

Response: NOAA agrees and has made the appropriate changes.

(4)

Comment: NOAA should undertake an assessment of how much jade is available for harvesting.

Response: Because most of the jade in the Jade Cove area is present in smaller pods and nodules, not in veins, it is difficult to assess or measure the exact amount of jade in the Sanctuary. Information presented to NOAA at a meeting of the MBNMS Advisory Council in June 1994 by a geologist from the U.S. Geological Survey indicated that historic collection had not "limited: the jade resource and she did not believe that future collections at the same level would "limit" the jade resource.

(5)

Comment: Collection of jade should require reporting of the amount taken to determine if there are any impacts of casual collection on the environment.

Response: The amount of jade removed pursuant to a permit issued by NOAA will be required to be reported. The amount of jade removed under the general exception, however, may be difficult to assess given the isolation and exposure of the area, the transitory nature of many visitors to the area, and the lack of NOAA or other personnel to monitor jade collection activities. MBNMS may establish a voluntary reporting system for jade removed under the general exception, to assist in determining how much jade is removed on an annual basis from the Jade Cove area.

(6)

Comment: NOAA should consider an alternative of seasonal closures on jade collection, if only for safety reasons.

Response: NOAA believes that the inhospitable and often harsh conditions in winter are self-limiting to collection of marine jade in the Jade Cove area. People collect jade at their own risk. NOAA's action only removes a restriction on a previously prohibited activity.

(7)

Comment: The proposed rule is not clear on what restrictions, if any, exist on the commercial use of jade collected under the conditions of the proposed rule. Please clarify.

Response: NOAA does not place any conditions on the use of jade that has been removed under the general exception. Persons who wish to remove jade under a Sanctuary permit will be required to explain the purpose for which the jade is to be removed, including commercial or "for profit" uses. All permits will be considered on a case-by-case basis according to the general permit criteria at 15 CFR §§ 922.48 and 922.133; preference will be given to research and education uses. NOAA will not allow commercial excavation or mining of the jade resource within the MBNMS.

(8)

Comment: If a person finds a loose large piece of jade that cannot be carried out by an individual, can he break the large piece into several smaller pieces with the hand tools allowed under the exception and remove the smaller pieces?

Response: No. If a stone is not removable under the conditions outlined in the general exception for limited, small-scale jade collection under this rule, including an individual being allowed to remove only what he can carry himself, then a permit will be required to remove the stone. Hand tools are only allowed to aid in maneuvering and lifting loose stones, and scratching the surface of a stone as necessary to determine if it is jade. Hand tools are not authorized to be used to break or chip stones under any circumstances.

(9)

Comment: NOAA stated in the proposed rule that prior to Sanctuary designation, collection of marine jade from California ocean areas was a violation of state law. This is not true and should be corrected.

Response: Under California law, the State Lands Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over all ungranted tidelands and submerged lands owned by the State (California Public Resources Code § 6301). The SLC is authorized to issue prospecting permits and leases for the extraction and removal of minerals, other than oil and gas or other hydrocarbon substances, from lands, including tide and submerged lands belonging to the state, consistent with the procedures of the California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Division 3, Article 4, Section 2200-2205. As the SLC has not prescribed regulations for the noncommercial hobby collection of minerals from state lands, any collection of minerals from such lands is considered commercial collection.

Should any person remove, without a permit, jade in large amounts or for the purpose of sale, the SLC has authority under Public Resource Code § 6302 to seek civil damages for trespass, and for conversion of public property. The SLC also has authority to seek criminal penalties for trespass (Penal Code § 602) or for theft (Penal Code § 484, 495).

(10)

Comment: Please enter into the official record the document Jade Collection - A California Heritage previously submitted to NOAA.

Response: Jade Collection - A California Heritage is part of the administrative record for this rule and is available for public inspection.

(11)

Comment: Please enter into the official record all previous correspondence sent to NOAA on the issue of jade collection within the Sanctuary.

Response: All correspondence sent to NOAA on the issue of jade collection prior to the public comment period of the proposed rule was considered in the course of NOAA's decision-making process and is available for public inspection.

(12)

Response: No. The absolute prohibition against exploring for, developing or producing oil, gas or minerals will remain in effect outside the Jade Cove area within the Sanctuary.

Comment: Can a collector collect jade outside the established collection zone if he/she obtains a Sanctuary permit?

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