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

MBNMS EIS banner
IV. Section: Existing Resource Protection Regime

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

IV. Section: Existing Resource Protection Regime

A. Introduction [Part II TOC]

The Federal agencies with primary existing responsibilities in the Monterey Bay study area are: the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the Department of Commerce; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of the Interior; the Corps of Engineers (COE), the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy of the Department of Defense; and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) of the Department of Transportation.

The California state agencies with primary existing jurisdiction in the Monterey Bay study area are: the Coastal Commission, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Central and San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the State Lands Commission, the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Air Resources Board and the Historical Resources Commission.

This section will review briefly the responsibilities of these agencies in the Monterey Bay area. Additional information is provided in Appendix C and Parts III and IV.

B. Federal Authorities [Part II TOC]

The NMFS works with the CDF&G, under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, on approving and enforcing Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) prepared by regional fishery management councils. Through a cooperative enforcement agreement, the CDF&G is also deputized to enforce FMPs beyond three miles from the State's coastal baseline.

NMFS shares responsibility with the FWS for implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. The protection of cetaceans and pinnipeds is the responsibility of NMFS. The FWS is responsible for protecting endangered bird species and some marine mammals (such as the southern sea otter and walrus). Three of these bird species: the California brown pelican, the American peregrine falcon, and the California least tern, are found in the vicinity of Monterey Bay as well as the majority of the entire population of the threatened southern sea otter. The short-tailed albatross is extremely rare in this area but was recently sighted off central California in the vicinity of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

The USCG, in addition to its enforcement of fishing regulations, is responsible for enforcing regulations under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships to prevent pollution caused by discharges from vessels of oil, hazardous substances, or other pollutants. The USCG is also responsible for regulating vessel traffic, maintaining boater safety, and coordinating search and rescue operations.

The EPA has regulatory responsibilities with regard to sewage outfalls, and ocean dumping. Sewage outfall regulation is governed under the Clean Water Act (CWA) via the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), administered by the EPA. Under the NPDES program, a permit is required for the discharge of any pollutant from a point source into the navigable waters of the United States, the waters of the contiguous zone, or the ocean beyond. Within California state waters, EPA has delegated NPDES permitting authority to the State government. Title I of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act prohibits the transportation of any materials from the United States for the purpose of dumping them into the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, and the ocean beyond without a permit from EPA. The COE grant permits that are based on EPA guidelines for the discharge of dredged materials into State waters and the waters beyond.

Pursuant to the Rivers and Harbors Act, a permit must be obtained from the COE prior to any marine construction, excavation or fill activities in any navigable waters of the United States (33 U.S.C. § 403). The COE may refuse to issue permits on the basis of a threat to navigation or potential adverse effects on living marine resources.

The MMS is responsible for the overall management of offshore oil and gas exploration and development operations in accordance with the provisions of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). These include enforcement of regulations pursuant to the OCSLA (30 C.F.R. Parts 250 and 256) and the stipulations applicable to particular leases discussed above. This responsibility was formerly divided between the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The United States Department of Defense maintains numerous training areas in the area and routine training missions are frequently conducted by all branches of the armed services.

C. State Authorities [Part II TOC]

The California Coastal Act of 1976 (the CCA) is the foundation of the California Coastal Management Program. The CCA establishes the State Coastal Commission to implement the Act, granting it permit authority until such time as local governments adopt local plans approved by the Commission. It establishes a comprehensive set of specific policies for the protection of coastal resources and the management of orderly economic development throughout the coastal zone. The CCA defines the coastal zone as the land and water area of the State, extending seaward to the outer limit of the State's jurisdiction, including all offshore islands, and extending inland generally 1,000 yards from the mean tide line. In significant coastal, estuarine, habitat, and recreational areas, it extends inland to the first major ridge line or 5.0 nm (8.0 km) from the mean high tide, whichever is less.

The State Lands Commission has jurisdiction over all state owned lands and submerged lands extending 3.0 nm (5.6 km) from the mean high tide line. Administration of State lands includes leasing of these lands for various legislatively authorized purposes; in particular, oil and gas exploration and development. In addition, as the State agency with sole responsibility for administering the trust, the SLC has adopted regulations for the protection and use of public trust lands in the coastal zone.

The CDF&G is responsible for enforcing California as well as Federal fishing laws in the 200-mile wide exclusive economic zone as well as in State waters. The CDF&G also works with other Federal and State agencies with water quality projects and environmental reviews.

In order to protect special marine resources and water-based recreational values in ocean waters within state jurisdiction and to expand coastal park units beyond the water's edge, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDP&R) has established an Underwater Parks Program which is managed in conjunction with CDF&G. CDP&R also shares responsibility with the National Forest Service for management of the Los Padres National Forest.

The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act is designed to enhance and maintain water quality in State waters, including ocean waters, under the jurisdiction of the State. The State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine regional water quality control boards (RWQCB) have primary responsibility for regulating water quality in California. The authority to administer the NPDES permits has been delegated by EPA to the SWRCB and by the State to the Regional boards.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is charged with the maintenance and enhancement of the ambient air quality of the State. The ARB has set air quality standards designed to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards and delegated their implementation to local Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs).

State preservation of representative and unique archaeological, paleontological, and historical sites in the land and water areas of the state is the responsibility of the California Historical Resources Commission (CHRC) and the State Lands Commission. The commissions evaluate and make recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer on nominations to the National Register. The CHRC also recommends state registration of sites as landmarks to The Resources Agency which is responsible for maintenance of registered sites.

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: November 20, 2017
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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