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MBNMS SAC Meeting Minutes October 6, 2000

MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
ADVISORY COUNCIL

FINAL
Meeting Minutes
October 6, 2000
Elkus Ranch Conference Center
Half Moon Bay, CA

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) Advisory Council met on Friday, October 6, 2000, at the Elkus Youth Ranch and Conference Center in Half Moon Bay, California. Public categories and government agencies were present as indicated:

 

Agriculture: Richard Nutter

Diving: Ed Cooper - Alternate

AMBAG: Stephanie Harlan

Education: Rachel Saunders - Alternate

At Large: Steve Webster - ABSENT

Enforcement: Capt. Carmel Babich

At Large: Karin Strasser Kauffman

Fishing: Dave Danbom

At Large: Chet Forrest

Ports & Harbors: James Stilwell

Business & Industry: Steve Abbott

Recreation: Sally Smith

CA Coastal Commission: Tami Grove

Research: Gregor Cailliet

CA EPA: Craig J. Wilson

Tourism: Matthew Twisselman - Alternate

CA Resources Agency: Brian Baird

U.S. Coast Guard: LT Tom Stuhlreyer

Conservation: Vicki Nichols

 


The following non-voting members were present as indicated:

 

Elkhorn Slough NERR: Becky Christensen - ABSENT

Gulf of the Farallones NMS and Cordell Bank NMS: Ed Ueber - ABSENT

Channel Islands NMS: LCDR Matt Pickett - ABSENT

Monterey Bay NMS: William J. Douros

I. CALL TO ORDER, ROLL CALL, APPROVAL OF June 2, 2000 DRAFT MEETING MINUTES

A) Call to Order and Roll Call

The meeting was called to order by the Chair, Stephanie Harlan, at 9:00 a.m. Matthew Twisselman conducted the roll call - a quorum was present.

B) Approval of Meeting Minutes


MOTION: The SAC unanimously adopted the minutes from the August 4, 2000 Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting, with the following changes:

  • Page 4: change Greg Cailliet's comment to reflect the notion that there were many people who attended more than one of the kelp meetings and thus it is likely that less than 100 unique individuals who attended the meetings.
  • Page 5: Correct spelling of Morro Bay.
  • Page 6: Clarify the discussion on recommendation #2 to reflect that Vicki Nichols made the compromise motion which was voted on and passed by the SAC.
  • Page 10: Correct name to read MCI Southern Cross Project
  • Page 11: Correct name to read Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.
  • Page 13: Reflect that a NAPA Subcommittee has been established by the SAC to review the NAPA report and come up with recommendations for NOAA to consider.

II. COUNCIL MEMBER & STAFF ANNOUNCEMENTS

Bill Douros introduced Dawn Hayes as the new MBNMS Education Coordinator.

Brian Baird provided a legislative update on relevant marine legislation affecting California's coasts and oceans. AB2800, the Marine Management Improvement Act was passed in the State Legislature, which revises and simplifies the marine management classification scheme from 18 into 6. AB2387, the California Ocean Stewardship Resources Act provides a framework to coordinate research on California's marine resources and stimulate research through California's University system. On the Federal level, CARA, if passed, could provided up to $60.0 million for California's ocean and coastal resources. However, it looks like it won't pass in the current form and a new substitution bill will be introduced. Brian provided testimony at the Pew Oceans Commission's 1st hearing and he recommended that they look into marine protected areas and water quality issues. Their next meeting will be from November 27-29 in Monterey.

Richard Nutter handed out a new brochure entitled "Coalition of Central Coast County Farm Bureaus Agriculture Water Quality Program." This brochure was produced in cooperation with the 6 farm bureaus as a means to help address water quality issues and runoff. The USDA Natural Conservation Resource Service (NCRS) will hire a new coordinator to help implement pilot projects in all 6 counties. This is an example of an industry voluntary effort to deal with an issue without regulatory requirements and can serve as a model for other areas of the Nation. Richard also talked with Sam Farr about the proposed money in the USDA's budget to help implement the water quality protection programs in the Monterey Bay area. An additional $500,000 has been added to the NCRS budget to help implement the provisions of the Agriculture and Rural Lands Plan and catalyze some pilot projects.

Greg Cailliet handed out a summary of the last two Research Activity Panel (RAP) meetings at Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. After the Moss Landing meeting they held a BBQ which was great. At the last retreat the SAC agreed to 4 main priorities, one of which was to implement the ecosystem monitoring program. The SAC or RAP should write letter of support so Bill can take it to the leadership meeting which shows our support and desire to have NOAA fund this program. The SAC could empower Greg or a subcommittee to draft a letter of support.

Brian Baird introduced a motion, seconded by Chet Forest.


MOTION: PASSED (unanimous)

The SAC should draft a letter to Dan Basta supporting a proposal to fund and staff the Sanctuary's management plan review and the ecosystem monitoring plan.

Jim Stilwell provided a summary of an October 30 meeting concerning dredge disposal issues in Moss Landing Harbor District. He also announced that a new Ocean Energy bill could provide up to $700,000 available to conduct a dredge disposal management plan for Moss Landing.

Vicki Nichols passed out the latest summary from the Conservation Working Group (CWG). The CWG has focused on three main issues recently -- the Duke Energy Power Plant expansion, supporting the CDFG ban on shallow water gillnets, and comments for the SAC to consider on NOAA's proposed fiber optic cable advanced notice of proposed rulemaking. At their next meeting they will begin the development of a strategic plan for the CWG to address desalinization issues in the MBNMS.

Rachel Saunders directed SAC members to the summary from the latest Sanctuary Education Panel (SEP) meeting.

Brian Baird announced the California Biodiversity Council Meeting on Nov. 8 & 9 in Santa Barbara that will focus on coastal and ocean issues. Bill Douros will give a presentation on the Sanctuary's Water Quality Protection Program.

Stephanie Harlan announced that the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) is sponsoring a coastal and ocean governance conference on Nov. 2 - 3 in Monterey. Peter Douglas is a key speaker. There will be tours to the Big Sur and Elkhorn Slough on Saturday. Stephanie received a thank you card and photo from Pat Cotter. She asked SAC members to sign a thank you card for Pat Cotter and will send him the card and a photograph as a thank you gift.

Bill Douros recently talked with headquarters staff who indicated that the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) could be successfully reauthorized during this session. The bill is awaiting Senate passage, which then must go back to the full House if changes are made. The Senate, Commerce and Justice Appropriations bill is still under deliberation in Congress and it is not clear when it will be approved. This bill contains the portion pertaining to NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Brian Baird also commented it is also touch and go with the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Bill Douros also gave a summary of a celebration in Moss Landing for the new bilge water pump out facility at the maintenance dock. This is the second harbor to get such a facility and we hope Santa Cruz and Pillar Point harbors follow suit. This facility pumps out bilge water, filters out the oil, and returns the water back to the harbor. Jim Stilwell put a lot of his own time and energy into designing this facility and getting it in installed. Rep. Sam Farr was one of the speakers. Jim Stilwell announced that the harbor will have an oil skimmer on hand in Jan./Feb. that can collect surface water and send it through the facility for processing. Jim recommended that Save our Shores conduct a forum to target the Vietnamese boat owners to improve their boat husbandry skills. Steve Scheiblauer indicated that there may be more of these type of facilities springing up statewide due to the potential for funds from the Integrated Waste Management Fund.

Stephanie Harlan indicated that some SAC members pointed out to her that there were some inconsistencies in the LA Times Article on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Brian Baird also pointed out an article in the San Francisco Examiner on Shark Chumming which never mentioned how Monterey or the Gulf of Farallones dealt with the issue.

III. PUBLIC COMMENT ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA

Steve Scheiblauer announced that Monterey would host a West Coast Harbor Master's meeting from Nov.8-10. 80% of all the West Coast Harbor Masters will attend the meeting. There will also be several people from NOAA attending. Please submit any policy questions you want addressed by the NMSP to Steve.

Dave Iverson a former SAC member from San Mateo County sends his greeting from the northern boundary region. He also wanted to make sure the SAC and NOAA were aware the there has been a lot of 1-sided reporting lately about the Monterey Bay NMS boundary issue. Not everyone in San Mateo County wants to be part of the Gulf of the Farallones NMS. Dave wants to reaffirm that, as was the case when the MBNMS was being designated, there is one ecosystem from Monterey to Marin County. He also wants to congratulate the SAC and staff on addressing a variety of issues throughout the boundary -- water quality protection program, vessel traffic, shark chumming, jet skis, ATOC, fiber optic cables, etc.

Steve Shimek announced that Monterey will host a joint US-Russia Conference on Sea Otters November 14-16 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The conference organizers hope to identify future research and management projects and get a better handle on the otters global population dynamics.

Kirk Schmidt (Agriculture Alternate) talked about water quality issues and farming practices. The best way for farmers to reduce erosion in northern areas of Monterey County is to reduce runoff, which will also recharge the groundwater table. There is a need to train farmers on how to improve the husbandry of the soils. There are also two changes in regards to zoning. In Monterey County, there will be a public process to look at Title 20, the coastal and zoning ordinances. This could impact how the county deals with egregious erosion. The SAC should look at the re-write of this zoning legislation and write a letter to the Monterey Board of Supervisors relating to the enforcement of the erosion provisions. Karin Strasser Kauffman asked if the SAC should write a letter to the Board reiterating the Sanctuary's concerns and urge them to keep protections relating to erosion. Bill Douros responded that this was the first he heard of this legislation and he needs to check with Holly as to the best way to influence the Board. Bill will ask Holly to look into the issue and figure the best way that the SAC and Sanctuary should participate.

Richard Nutter said there is concern in the Agriculture community that county permits won't be issued if erosion provisions are made more stringent.

Jim Stilwell is also working on the erosion issue in Moss Landing. The problem is a lack of money. It may be appropriate for the SAC to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors and outline there is a water quality protection program in place. Also, any modifications to Title 20 will need the blessing of the California Coastal Commission.

Brian Baird introduced a motion, seconded by Karin Strasser Kauffman.

MOTION: PASSED (unanimous)

The SAC should write a letter to the Monterey Board of Supervisors stating that we know that Monterey County is going through the process to review Title 20, reminding them of the Sanctuary's Water Quality Protection Program and that the Sanctuary, through Dr. Price, can assist if needed.

IV. INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATIONS:

Science Education and Adventure (S.E.A.) Lab Pilot Session: Rachel Saunders, S.E.A. Lab Planning Director, provided an update on this past summer's pilot session. A Video was shown that depicts highlights from the pilot. S.E.A. Lab is a collaboration with the community around Monterey Bay. Many people and businesses donated or supported the project. Currently S.E.A. Lab is focusing on school children from 5th grade through middle school. There are few opportunities for kids of these grades to be exposed to marine education or even outdoor education. In the future Rachel hopes to expand it to high schools.

Twenty-eight students from this years' pilot project were recruited through the RISE (Recruitment in Science and Education) program. They were kids primarily from low-income areas, many of which have never been to the ocean. Overall the pilot was very successful, expanding the vision and dreams of the participating students.

The immediate goals of S.E.A. Lab are to: 1) market and expand the program, 2) find a permanent home, and 3) seek finances to make it a yearly program and to maintain opportunities for lower income students to attend. S.E.A. Lab will need continued support from the community and please contact Rachel Saunders if you are interested in helping this next year.

Karin Strasser Kauffman inquired as to how much it would be to sponsor students. Rachel responded from $700-$800 per student. Bill Douros mentioned that the Calif. Coastal Commission, Sam Farr and the Sanctuary are all interested in getting S.E.A. Lab off the ground. It will take awareness, assistance, funding (agencies to private sources), and help from all. Matthew Twisselman mentioned that the tourism industry could be a source of revenue.

Tami Grove mentioned that it is important to get NOAA more focused on this issue. Peter Douglas and Tami are trying to meet with Margaret Davidson (Asst. Administrator for NOS) and get her to reaffirm NOAA's support. Tami thought the SAC could help raise awareness and support for S.E.A. Lab within NOAA.

MOTION: PASSED (unanimous)

The SAC will write a letter to NOAA officially endorsing S.E.A. Lab and encouraging NOAA to view the program as a high priority and provide ongoing funding.

MTBE in Coastal Waters: Craig Wilson from California EPA gave an overview on the current status of Methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in the MBNMS. MTBE is used extensively throughout California as a gasoline additive to reduce exhaust emissions. Leaks of gasoline from underground storage tanks and watercraft exhaust emissions have resulted in MTBE contamination of groundwater and freshwater lakes in certain areas. California's coastal waters received discharges from multiple sources that may contain MTBE, including urban runoff, effluent from petroleum refineries, and treated municipal wastewater from publicly owned treatment plants. Based upon monitoring in coastal environments, MTBE has not been identified as a problem in open ocean marine waters where it gets diluted to levels of up 1000x below which show impacts to wildlife (37 µg/L). In studies on freshwater fish, researchers have found once MTBE is removed from a system, fish quickly get rid of the chemical. Though MTBE has been a problem in some enclosed bays in California (Mission Bay in San Diego) levels along the MBNMS have consistently been low (below 5 µg/L). Although MTBE is not a problem in the MBNMS, Craig recommends that MTBE should be regularly monitored in coastal waters as part of a water quality monitoring program.

Moss Landing Duke Power Plant Expansion: Wayne Hoffman an Environmental Manager at Duke Energy provided and update on the proposed expansion of the Moss Landing Power Plant. He also handed out a summary entitled "Moss Landing Power Plant Modernization and Marine Biology." Duke proposes to spend $525 million modernizing the plant to replace units shutdown in the 1990's with a modern power plant. The new units will generate 1060 megawatts compared to 600 megawatts from the older units, and reduce emissions by 80%. The plant will intake and discharge about 1 billion gallons of water per day. The project also involves the removal of 19 oil tanks and eight 225-foot smoke stacks and over $15 million in mitigation. Approximately $7.5 million is slated to fund improved coastal access, nearby roads and fire protection. Another $7.0 million will go toward mitigating potential adverse impacts to the marine environment by funding habitat improvement and protection measures for Elkhorn Slough. They will also fund a monitoring program for effects of the thermal discharge.

Duke Power spend nearly $2.0 million on a study to look at the modernization would affect the marine environment. The study investigated the effects of entrainment of larval fish in the intakes, adequacy of screens, and the potential for adult fish getting caught on the screens. Using the highest impact (plant runs at 100%, 100% mortality) the study determined that the plant could cause an average loss of 5 to 13% of the most abundant fish larvae found in the habitat. Cancer crab larval loss would be less than 5%. In total about 95% of the larvae were confined to 8 taxa and 5% were commercially viable species. The mitigation plan was derived to compensate for the loss of these species and would involve restoring 394 acres of Elkhorn Sough. The mitigation package focuses on the direct restoration of those areas that would most benefit the species primarily being taken (high quality wetlands, areas available for restoration, areas to control sedimentation). The Elkhorn Slough Foundation will receive $7.0 million and an advisory board will be established to oversee how the money is spent.

Bill Douros informed the SAC that the Sanctuary has been involved in this issue and has copied the SAC on all correspondence sent regarding this project. Jim Stilwell expressed concern that the Moss Landing Harbor District was not consulted at any time. They do not oppose the expansion, but have issues with the process.

Vicki Nichols mentioned that the Conservation Working Group (CWG) has several concerns regarding this project. They are concerned that the mitigation plan is tied to a permitting process (will you be able to get approval to do some of the proposed mitigation) and that the chunk of money is pre-determined (what happens if there is not enough money to pay for all the monitoring or proposed mitigation). This CWG is also disappointed by the impact studies in that it didn't address potential secondary impacts on endangered species (snowy plover, caspian tern, clapper rail, sea otter) who rely on many of the species that will be affected by the project. The CWG would like to see a monitoring plan to helps us understand the impacts to these secondary species. 35% of the larval lost everyday could have a significant impact.

Wayne Hoffman refuted the 35% loss statement saying that the study, at its most conservative case, estimates that at most 13% of the larvae are entrained.

Steve Shimek told the SAC that the numbers in the report are confusing. The conservation group applauds and supports the removal of old oil tanks and smoke stacks, and the discharge into the ocean and not the slough. But the problem is that the numbers are debatable. How much of the larvae are fish versus the % of total larvae entrained. The study is based on analyzing the impacts from a small % of the sample and we still don't know what the impacts are on clam and other larvae. It will take 2.5 years to build the plant so we need to collect the data now -- not after the plant is built. Steve also feels there is resistance to establishing a long-term monitoring project.

O'Neill's Sea Odyssey: Dan Haifley showed a video and gave the SAC a summary of the O'Neill's Sea Odyssey program. This is a one-day program that brings school children onto a boat in the Sanctuary. Over the last three years they have taken over 400 classes or about 12,000 4 to 6 grade students aboard their 65-foot "Team O'Neill" catamaran. O'Neill's Sea Odyssey provides a hands-on educational experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living seas and communities. Kids learn about marine biology, ecology, and sailing and navigation. The program is free to schools and focus on kids who normally wouldn't get the opportunity to interface with the ocean. S.E.A. Lab students were also taken out on the Sea Odyssey as part of their experience.

 

V. UPDATE & ACTION: FIBER OPTIC CABLES

Bill Douros indicated that there is nothing new to report on either the Pacific Genesis or the Global Photon fiber optic cable projects since the last SAC meeting. Bill provided a brief summary of the Department of Commerce and NOAA's Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) concerning the installation and maintenance of commercial submarine cables within NMSs. The ANPR seeks public comments on whether NOAA needs to make changes to Sanctuary regulations or establish some form of policy guidance to clarify NOAA's decision-making process regarding the installation and maintenance of commercial submarine cables within NMSs. NOAA lists 8 sanctuaries where it is recommending there be no cables and 4 which would allow cables. Monterey Bay NMS falls into the latter category. The notice was published in August and NOAA is seeking public comments until October 23rd.

Following Bill's summary of the ANPR, SAC members discussed the notice and its implications for Monterey Bay. The following text summarizes some of the discussion.

Brian Baird noted that the policy needs to specifically address cumulative impacts. There is a good joint review model of federal and state agency cooperation from oil and gas in the Santa Barbara Channel that could be used here. Federal and State agencies could come together to prepare regional environmental assessment documents based upon cumulative impacts. In advance agencies could agree how to participate and how to review environmental projects. It would force agencies to sit down and work together and work out issues of concern. The concept of program review is in the ANPR for the entire nation, but not for individual sanctuaries. For every project proposed in a Sanctuary, NOAA should conduct a joint environmental review with the State.

Vicki Nichols reported that the Conservation Working Group (CWG) has been working on the fiber optic cable issue and has focused its comments on Appendix A. Vicki directed SAC members to a handout that outlined 5 major concepts. 1) the NOAA policy should be as strong as possible to avoid any adverse environmental impacts to the marine environment, 2) NOAA needs to clarify its definition of feasible land based alternatives in regard to installing marine cables in national marine sanctuaries, 3) the concept of cable corridors should be incorporated into the NOAA policy, 4) each sanctuary should have specific locations identified in advance where submarine cables may be installed, and 5) each installation must have a specific environmental review.

Vicki reiterated the concept that NOAA should clearly define "feasible land based alternatives" in the ANPR. The policy should clearly specific what is feasible and it should be simply because it is a cheaper option. Bill Douros noted that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) already define "feasible alternative." Vicki reported that the CWG thought the cables should only be allowed in the oceans after exhausting all land based alternatives. This should not solely be based on economics.

In Appendix A, #2, "Speed to Market as a driving force" should not be allowed to drive the process. Each project needs review and there should be no approval in advance of the project planning.

In Appendix A, #2(c): If cables are allowed, each Sanctuary should designate areas or routes where cables will be allowed.

Gregor Cailliet noted that at the last RAP meeting Pacific Genesis gave a presentation and were able to use science to determine the most feasible place to lay the cable. How much of this is NOAA responsible for versus that of the applicant? Bill Douros said that studies to adequately determine where to place the cable on the seafloor will require a lot of money. Right now the burden is on the applicant who is directed by the agency.

Karin Strasser Kauffman said that as written the ANPR presumes that there are areas where cables should be laid. Rather it should state there may be appropriate areas to lay cables.

Vicki also claimed that the ANPR didn't directly address the cost but it should be the sole responsibility of the applicant. Karin agreed that the applicant should pay into a fund that can be used later.

Jim Stillwell says the process to determine where to place a cable is essentially creating a zoning plan. Companies should be able to get a planning permit with clear requirements from the Sanctuary. It would be like getting a preliminary approval and moving into the building permit process.

Bill Douros pointed out that instead of identifying areas where you could place cables; you could also identify areas where you cannot place cables.

Gregor Cailliet stated that underwater topography is very expensive to obtain. NOAA won't be able to afford to collect the data themselves. With new data we may discover there are new habitats or species that may make an area off limits.

Tami Grove brought up the notion of a consolidated corridor for laying cables. NOAA should develop criteria for areas that shouldn't be considered. They should also address the impacts of the cable landing areas in the coastal zone.

Karin Strasser Kauffman questioned the entire process to identify areas where it may be appropriate to lay cables. One of the reasons this entire area was designated a Sanctuary was because of the many studies that identified the area as being of special national significance. Aren't we really saying you can't lay cable because the area is too fragile? If this is true, is this setting companies up for failure when they try and go through the process to lay cables?

Tami Grove summarized some of the comments made so far. First that companies need to prove that there are no land based alternatives. Second, to determine the least damaging alternative. It is not really reasonable to state that companies may never come into a Sanctuary the size of Monterey Bay NMS.

Bill Douros shed some light on the perspective of laying cables in marine areas based on issues that have been brought up at the Dept. of Commerce. How can we not allow a narrow trench to traverse a Sanctuary and yet allow trawling to occur along the entire ocean floor?

Jim Stilwell asked if the land management agencies are thinking the ocean alternative is a better alternative than on land -- if so there could be a conflict.

Steve Abbott said that for some cable projects there are no land based alternatives (i.e., routes going to Hawaii, Japan or New Zealand).

Dave Danbom asked about what we know from past transoceanic cables. Where do we have cables and what are the detrimental impacts?

Gregor Cailliet said that NOAA should require an EIR/EIS if company proposes a project through a Sanctuary. We will never get information about an area unless you requirement environmental impact assessments as part of an EIR/EIS.

Brian Baird stated that hopefully the selected alternative is truly the least environmentally damaging.

Ed Cooper expressed concern about the "speed to market" statement. Environmental impacts should be looked at for each project. That is what is important not just steaming ahead because the cable companies are in a hurry.

Vicki Nichols said that NOAA is considering putting cable routes into the MBNMS. Do we like it? Vicki also suggested that NOAA should require an EIS/EIR for each project in the Sanctuary.

Steve Abbott suggested that a programmatic EIS that covers the whole system could work but you would still need to thoroughly look at the individual resources of the site.

Brian Baird favored the concept of a programmatic document but it should also focus on the cumulative review of California.

Bill Douros asked if the SAC was comfortable suggesting in a programmatic EIR/EIS places where cables should or should not be placed.

Ed Cooper said this was a crack in the door, the more you open it the more projects will come.

Vicki Nichols stated that the CWG is opposed to cables in the MBNMS. They are under the impression that NOAA says it will be allowed. Can we say no? Bill Douros replied that the ANPR states that we will consider cables in the MBNMS, but the entire purpose of the document is to seek public comments. This is your opportunity to comment. Maybe there is an option -- transpacific you allow and not allow interstate cables. Vicki asked again if the SAC wants to oppose cables in MBNMS. Brian Baird indicated that this was not realistic.

Bill Douros summarized some of the statements made thus far. Within California we want to ensure that if the cables are place in the ocean there needs to be a feasible least damaging alternative. We want to minimize impacts to the Sanctuary.

Tami Grove asked about the mechanics of a letter from the SAC. She supports a national programmatic EIS as long as it addresses specific impacts to the resource of a site. Jim Stilwell added that there needs to be a process to identify impacts to the environment and that a national programmatic EIS may not be sufficient for the MBNMS. It should still be subject to NEPA and CEQA.

Stephanie Harlan indicated there was support for the protection of resources in the Sanctuary. Stephanie will work with staff to draft a letter to NOAA.

Vicki Nichols added that in Appendix A(4)(d) NOAA should add "submarine canyon" to the list of habitat types where it is not appropriate to lay cables. Also say there should be no "hanging cables" to avoid entanglement by wildlife. Gregor Cailliet added that we should include "fragile or unique structures or habitats" to be more inclusive. Under #2, the environmental analysis should be prepared for the sanctuary and paid for by the applicant. The applicant should monitor potential impacts for the life of the project.

Under Appendix A(4) some SAC members wanted to stress the removal of the cable at the end of its life. Others wanted flexibility to not remove the cable in case there were more impacts if it was removed. Steve Abbott supports the requirement to remove the cable at the discretion of the Sanctuary. Jim Stilwell suggested putting money to remove the cable in escrow to ensure there is money to remove the cable at the end of the project.

The SAC voted in a strawpole, "do you favor the removal of cables if determined appropriate by NOAA." The vast majority approved the vote.

On page 51270 (g) add "NEPA Analysis" or "Environmental Review Analysis"; also add commercial and recreational species.

On page 51268, bullet 4th from the bottom add "monitoring"

To section E, add that the applicant agrees to post a security bond to pay for the removal of the cable at the end of its useful life.

Vicki Nichols added that 3(d) should be modified to state there should be no hanging cables, and include burying cables to a depth of 30" or greater except where not feasible due to water depth.

Ed Cooper asked if the letter could also state the SAC concerns with the sensitivity to the environment. He then made a motion for the SAC to write a letter to NOAA on the ANPR, incorporating comments agreed upon by the vast majority of SAC members. Jim Stilwell offered an amended motion that Vicki and Steve review the letter before it gets sent off to represent varied interests. The letter would contain a statement reviewing the ecological attributes of the MBNMS and incorporate comments made by SAC members. The SAC by vote did not agree to add language adding the MBNMS to the list of excluded areas (7 yes, 9 no).

MOTION: PASSED (unanimous)

The SAC will write a letter to NOAA commenting on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on submarine cables in National Marine Sanctuaries, particularly addressing the issues from the Monterey Bay NMS. The letter will incorporate comments agreed upon by the vast majority of the SAC members.

 

VI. UPDATE: FINAL KELP MANAGEMENT REPORT

Aaron King gave the SAC a summary of the changes made in the final Kelp Management Report. The changes were highlighted in a comparison table between the draft, SAC comments, and final recommendations. The final recommendations were released to the public, DFG and the SAC. Aaron thanked the SAC for their input, which helped make better recommendations.

The process from here on out is with the California Dept. of Fish and Game. DFG has released an internal document and in about one month will release a version for public review. The California Fish and Game Commission will need to discuss at one meeting and vote at the next. The next commission meeting is schedule for Dec. 7 and 8 in Eureka but we are not sure if Kelp will be on the agenda. Bill Douros recommends that we will request for at least one meeting to be held in the Monterey Bay area.

Jim Stilwell expressed disappointment that all the SAC's recommendations were not carried forward. He suggested that all of the SAC's opinions should have been expressed as a divergent opinion so the State can see there were differences. There were 3 recommendations of the SAC's that were not included. Jim wants to know if the DFG saw the results from the last SAC meeting. NOAA identified some things as a problem that the SAC did not see as a problem.

Brian Baird noted that the SAC is an advisory council whose purpose is to advise the manager who must weigh all the public comments and advice and make a decision.

Vicki expressed concern about having someone from the SAC testifying a position contrary to the Sanctuary.

Bill Douros explained how the comments were weighted to come with the final recommendations.

Chet Forrest noted that we should all be commended on doing a great job. The majority of the comments were included -- let the issue rest.

Steve Scheiblauer wanted to know if the DFG saw the Sac's recommendations and that they were different from the Sanctuary. Jim Stillwell added that a letter should be sent noting the divergent opinions of the SAC

Aaron King and Bill Douros agreed to send a letter to the California Fish and Game Commission transmitting the matrix and request that the Commission hold at least one of their meetings in the Monterey Bay area.

 

VII. UPDATE: MONTEREY BAY SANCTUARY FOUNDATION

Dennis Long, Executive Director, Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation provided the SAC with an update on Foundation activities. Sixteen months ago the Foundation had about 17 projects with a budget of $500K. Today, there are about 34 projects with the same budget of $500K. The primary goals of the Foundation are to provide fiscal sponsorship and help coordinate complementary education and conservation projects. Some of the existing projects include:

  • new bathymetric/topographic map of the MBNMS and watersheds
  • plan for a new threatened and thriving conservation series
  • Pt. Pinos Tidepool Issue: selected as a neutral and fiscal sponsor, issued RFP as part of a subcommittee. They have recently received four proposals for the project.
  • Salmon/steelhead project: fiscal sponsors with sanctuary and NMFS
  • Naval Postgraduate Oceanography Dept. -- help coordinate grants
  • Citizen Watershed Monitoring Network -- help coordinate finances from multiple agencies to hire a coordinator and fund education and outreach initiatives.

Richard Nutter asked how the Foundation was coordinating with other citizen monitoring networks. Dennis responded that coordination and outreach to other agencies, volunteers, businesses, and residents is a major part of the Citizens Monitoring network.

There were numerous questions about the recent sewage spills in Pacific Grove and what was being done to address this problem. Dennis responded that the City of Pacific Grove was assessed a fine of $75K of which $30K was going toward education and $35 was going toward identifying and fixing the problems (capacity and plumbing of system). The Foundation is only involved in conducting outreach to residents and businesses and helping with citizens monitoring projects.

Steve Scheiblauer asked if the Sanctuary staff was comfortable with the level of response from the City of Pacific Grove. Coliform bacteria have regularly been showing up causing the beaches to close during the summer months when use is high. This is a concern. It seems like we don't have enough staff to deal with this problem and it keeps coming up. Bill Douros responded we are very concerned about this problem and we are trying to work with other agencies to deal with it.

Jim Stilwell asked if we could keep track of the beach closures over time (similar to a permit) and other water quality issues. Bill stated we would try and do a better job at tracking water quality in the Sanctuary in terms of where and how often areas are being closed. Ruth Vreeland added that not all the complaints to the Monterey County Health Department are being investigated.

 

VIII. PROGRESS REPORT: FUNDING PILOT PROJECTS

Chet Forrest reported that there is no new development in the Cambria area. This is not a good time for seeking pledges down there due to other issues. Karin Strasser Kauffman reported that Craig Wilson is helping contact Caltrans to fund signage along the Big Sur. Steve Scheiblauer noted three sites where there has been interested in funding signs. The Monterey Beach Hotel is interested in putting up a sign on their property. The Kelp Cooperative is also interested in putting up a sign along the recreation trail overlooking the harbor that interprets kelp harvesting. The Community Bank of Central California has also expressed interest in funding a sign somewhere in the Monterey area.

 

IX. REPORT: WORKING GROUP ON CONGRESSIONAL CONTACT

Prior to this SAC meeting, Jim Stilwell met with members of the Legislative working group. Based upon this meeting he handed out a new version of the suggested changes to the charter and protocols. He also distributed a memo related to the charter and a memo related to the CRS Report on lobbying Congress.

Jim talked about the CRS letter and the ability of the SAC to communicate with members of Congress. If Sam Farr directly asks for information from the SAC, the law states the SAC should be able to respond. Jim felt that unless NOAA has internal department rules, they could not use 18 U.S.C. Section 1913 (pertaining to federal officers and employees of departments and agencies restricted by a criminal provision from using federal appropriations for certain types of grassroots lobbying) as a legal reason why the SAC couldn't contact members of congress.

Jim felt that the SAC as a body should be able to undertake grassroots lobbying on legislation that affects the Sanctuary. Bill Douros reiterated NOAA's position that the SAC is formally part of the federal government and thus cannot lobby. This has been the policy of NOAA and continues to be the policy of NOAA.

Jim felt that the SAC is an independent body and wanted to know if there was a specific NOAA regulation pertaining to employees lobbying congress. The SAC members are not federal employees and do not represent the administration.

SAC members discussed the purpose of the MBNMS. Tami Grove indicated that one of its purposes is to coordinate management of the Sanctuary with other agencies. Another is to make diverse views on management issues known. Tami also agreed that if the SAC comes to consensus on an issue, they should be able to let others know about it. But she also said that there may need to be more restrictions in regards to commenting on appropriations or legislation.

Tami asked the question "To what extent do the limitation on lobbying preclude the SAC from communicating directly with congress?" We need to find a middle ground.

Jim Stilwell clarified that their working group's intent was not to establish policy, but to state opinions and make conclusions. Jim then went into some of the changes in the protocols. There has been some "word-smithing" since the last version handed out at the last meeting. The main change from the original version is removing the ability of the manger to concur with the SAC on issues like agenda, sending out correspondence, holding meetings and making the manager more of an advisor to the SAC. They also advocate changing the voting procedure process.

Chet Forrest asked how this helps the SAC or the Sanctuary?

The SAC reviewed the proposed changes to the Charter. This generated much discussion and eventually the SAC voted, though motions, on which changes to accept and which to leave as is.

On page 4, Jim clarified that change was to make SAC responsible for the meetings. This generated discussion about the roles and responsibilities of the SAC versus the superintendent and what changing these roles would mean. Several members expressed concern about what type of signal this would send to the program what ultimate benefit this would have the council.

Gregor Cailliet pointed out that the charter only has a few places where the proposed revisions change the "concurrence of the manager" (page 2, 4 &6).

Jim Stilwell wanted the SAC to recognize that the SAC was established to provide advice to the sanctuary Superintendent and NOAA. Since the SAC's advice must have concurrence by the Superintendent, the advice is thus subject to objection before it gets into the chain of command.

There was more discussion as to what type of "signal" this would send to NOAA. As time was rapidly progressing the SAC decided to vote on the proposed changes:

Throughout the Charter, the SAC agreed to change the word from "Manager" to "Superintendent"

Page 2:

The SAC agreed to the following changes in the last paragraph: (no formal vote or motion was made):

Written comments and recommendations may be forwarded or copied to other entities by the Council with the concurrence of through the Sanctuary Manager Superintendent. The Sanctuary Superintendent may provide written endorsement of the comments and recommendations, or may provide a statement as to why the comments or recommendations cannot receive such endorsement;

Page 4, paragraph 4:

MOTION: Passed (Passed: 6 favor, 2 opposed):

Leave in "concurs with." There is no change to the original charter language except changing "Manager" to "Superintendent".

The paragraph should read:

The Sanctuary Manager Superintendent sits on the Council as a non-voting member and concurs with the scheduling of each meeting and the agenda to ensure that topics of discussion are relevant to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary Manager Superintendent shall also concur to other matters as indicated elsewhere in this Charter. Council meetings may not be conducted in the absence of the Sanctuary Manager Superintendent or his/her designee.

The last sentence of this page should read:

… 8. harbor and port operating entities districts that border the Sanctuary.

Page 6, paragraph 1:

MOTION: Passed (favor 6, opposed 4)

Leave in "including the non-voting members."

The sentence in question should read:

Election for all positions is by majority vote of all Council members including the non-voting members and votes shall be made by written ballot.

Page 6, paragraph 1:

MOTION: Passed (favor 9, opposed 0)

Allow absentee ballots to be submitted to the SAC Secretary

The sentence in question should read:

Members who will not be present at the time of the election may submit their vote in writing in a sealed envelope to the Council Secretary Sanctuary Manager prior to the meeting.

Page 6, paragraph 2:

MOTION: Passed (favor 8, opposed 1)

Leave in "with the concurrence of." No change to the original charter language.

The sentence in question should read:

(i) Chair: The Chair schedules and sets agendas for all Council meetings with the concurrence of the Sanctuary Manager Superintendent, presides over all meetings of the full Council, signs all correspondence and documents authorized by the Council, and generally represents the Council's interests and concerns to the public.

Page 7, paragraph 1:

Jim clarified the intended changes in this passage. He stated that the Council as a body should not have actions to require concurrence. If the Council wants to write a letter, it shouldn't have to get concurrence by the Superintendent. In the existing charter language, "concurred to by the Chair and Sanctuary Manager" is a strong statement. What happens if there is disagreement?

There was much discussion among SAC members about the intention of this change. In the end the following motion was made and approved.


MOTION: Passed (favor 8, opposed 3)

Remove "and concurred to by" to show cooperation between the two.

The sentence in question should read:

(a) Any correspondence, press releases, informational releases, news articles, or other written documents that are intended to speak for the Council as a body shall be coordinated with and concurred to by the Chair and the Sanctuary Superintendent.

Steve Scheiblauer expressed concern that there be a strong local and independent voice to provide input to the federal government. Jim Stilwell hopes that Bill will convey the feelings of the local people to Mr. Basta regarding local input into the management of these federal sanctuaries.

Steve Abbott noted that the Council exists because of regulations under NOAA. These regulations state that the councils give advice to NOAA through the Sanctuary Manager. The SAC shouldn't be sending out things that could have an impact on the program or NOAA. We serve to advise them. NOAA should concur with what the SAC releases. The power of the council is unity.

Page 7, paragraph 2

MOTION: Passed (favor 7, opposed 0)

Retain existing charter language as amended with "may only" and "when"

The sentence in question should read:

(b) The Council shall not, may only provide recommendations or advice to other than the Secretary of Commerce unless when the Council has the concurrence of the Sanctuary Manager Superintendent.

Jim Stilwell's memo to the SAC noted that the Corps of Engineers seat on the SAC has not been filled. The memo recommends contacting the Corps and if they are not interested to change the charter. Bill Douros noted that the Corps responded that they were not interested in filling this seat. He will check with them again, but suggested that the California Dept. of Parks and Recreation may be a good agency to fill the seat since we interact with them so much. There are four regional park superintendents who could rotate similar to the harbor/ports seat.

Bill also mentioned that the enforcement seat could also be one proposed for a change. Roy Torres mentioned that it is akward for enforcement agencies to sit on the SAC since it may lead to conflicts with investigations. Bill suggested that the SAC think about changing the seat to a California Dept. of Fish and Game seat or perhaps a National Marine Fisheries Service.

The recommended changes to the protocols were deferred until the December 1 meeting due to time constraints.

 

X. DISCUSSION: NAPA REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS

Karin Strasser Kauffman urged SAC members to closely review the NAPA report recommendations pertaining to Advisory Councils. She provided a series of handouts for SAC members to review.

MOTION: Passed (majority approved)

Defer the discussion on the NAPA Report Recommendation pertaining to Advisory Councils to the next SAC Meeting.

XI. ACTION: ESTABLISH COMMITTEE TO REVIEW SAC NOMINATIONS IN N0VEMBER

Brady Phillips gave a brief summary as to the process to fill the 9 vacant seats. According to the Charter the SAC will screen applicants and suggest 3 names for each seat to the Sanctuary Superintendent. The Superintendent, with approval from NOAA, will then select the primary and alternate for each seat.

Stephanie Harlan asked for volunteers of those people who were not competing for a vacant seat to help review the applications. The following people will make up the subcommittee:

  • Stephanie Harlan
  • Gregor Cailliet
  • Chet Forrest
  • Jim Stilwell

Stephanie will determine if others are interested in serving on the Subcommittee.

XII. ACTION: SET OCTOBER 6 SAC MEETING AGENDA

The SAC deferred to the SAC Chair and Superintendent to set the next agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Submitted by
Brady Phillips
Monterey Bay Sanctuary Advisory Council Coordinator

URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/sac/2000/100600.html    Reviewed: March 06, 2014
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