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MBNMS Management Plan Documents

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General Information

In October of 2021, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries released final revised management plans, regulations, and a final environmental impact statement for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

These documents are a result of six years of study, planning and public input and addresses key issues in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Issues addressed include wildlife disturbance, water quality, introduced species, and coastal development.

mbnms final mp final environmental assessment
MBNMS Management Plan
-November 2021-
Final Environmental Assessment
–November 2021–
MBNMS Final Rules & Regulations
-November 2021-

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Under what authority has NOAA taken this action, and why are these changes necessary?

How was the public involved throughout the management plan review process?

What are the main changes for the final management plan from the previous management plan?

Are sanctuary-wide boundaries being modified?

What sanctuary-wide regulations are being modified, and why?

Will there be an economic impact as a result of these changes?


Under what authority has NOAA taken this action, and why are these changes necessary?

  TOP

NOAA has acted under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, which requires periodic review and update of national marine sanctuary management plans. Over the last decade, the sanctuary's natural and cultural resources and environmental conditions have changed, creating new challenges for protecting resources and facilitating compatible use. At the same time, new tools for effective management have emerged, driven by scientific advances, technological innovation, and new partnerships. An evaluation of requirements and approaches, both current and future, ensures NOAA and its partners are making the most effective use of programmatic resources.

   

How was the public involved throughout the management plan review process?

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In 2015, NOAA held 4 public scoping meetings, accepted comments on-line and by mail, and has worked with its sanctuary Advisory Council, user groups, agencies, and enforcement groups to gather input and shape an updated management plan. In 2020, NOAA released a draft management plan, a draft environmental assessment, and a proposed rule, opening up a 60-day public comment period. Three virtual public meetings were held in summer 2020 to solicit public input on the draft documents during that 60-day period.

   

What are the main changes for the final management plan from the previous management plan?

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The previous management plan was published in 2008. This management plan is based on widespread threats and new opportunities that have emerged since the 2008 management plan and includes updated actions to address priority management issues, regulations, staffing and administration, operational and programmatic costs, and performance measures. The updated management plan is organized into 13 issue- and program-based action plans to guide NOAA in understanding and protecting sanctuary resources over the coming decade. Action plans focus on climate change, coastal erosion and sediment management, Davidson Seamount research and protection, emerging issue response, introduced species, marine debris, water quality, and wildlife disturbance. The management plan also provides guidance for education and outreach activities, maritime heritage, resource protection, research, and facility operations.

   

Are sanctuary-wide boundaries being modified?

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No.

   

What sanctuary-wide regulations are being modified, and why?

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NOAA is modifying the following revisions to the MBNMS regulations to address resource protection concerns in the sanctuary:

  • Change the size and shape of four motorized personal watercraft (MPWC) zones to improve access by MPWC users, protect sensitive resources, reduce navigational hazards, and reduce buoy maintenance costs.
  • Modify the prerequisite conditions for motorized personal watercraft (MPWC) access to riding in zone 5 at Mavericks surf break so that they may provide safety assistance to surfers in a highly energized surf zone.
  • Add a definition for the phrase “beneficial use of dredged material” and new regulatory language to clarify NOAA’s ability to approve the beneficial use of suitable dredged material for habitat protection or restoration purposes within MBNMS.
  • Make a minor technical correction to document the list of exempted Department of Defense activities at the Davidson Seamount Management Zone that was inadvertently omitted from the 2008 Final Environmental Impact Statement.
These changes support more efficient and effective program management and enhanced stewardship of the sanctuary’s natural resources.

   

Will there be an economic impact as a result of these changes?

  TOP

Healthy ecosystems are invaluable to the businesses and economy of California and Monterey Bay. An ecosystem-based management approach is the most effective mechanism to ensure the health of Monterey Bay and adjacent waters.

   

Original Designation Documents - 1992