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II. Section:Regulatory Alternatives

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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 IV Table of Contents

II. Section:Regulatory Alternatives

A. Introduction [Part IV TOC]

This section analyzes the environmental consequences of the ten activities included within the scope of the Sanctuary regulations. For each activity there is an analysis of the impact of a specific Sanctuary regulatory alternative compared with the status quo alternative, to natural resources and to human uses, including identification of the preferred Sanctuary action. (There are also two regulations proposed (preferred Sanctuary action) whose purpose is to facilitate enforcement of the other Sanctuary regulations: the regulations prohibiting possession of resources and interference with enforcement).

Table 27a & 27b, summarizes the overall environmental consequences of all regulations for each of the seven proposed Sanctuary boundaries. This comparative analysis is based in part on: (1) a quantitative understanding of the resources and uses encompassed within each boundary (see Table 26) and; (2) a qualitative assessment of the predicted impact to the human uses, resources and qualities within each boundary from all Sanctuary regulations considered together (i.e. cumulative impact) as well as under the status quo.

Overall, the proposed final regulations and designation are intended to: (1) improve resource protection by instituting new regulatory measures and by supplementing present surveillance and enforcement actions; (2) minimize negative impacts to human uses, particularly to those deemed consistent with the purposes of the Sanctuary and; (3) provide for a manageable area including such factors as its size, its ability to be defined as a discrete ecological unit, its accessibility, and its suitability for monitoring and enforcement activities.

It is important to note that as NOAA promulgates these regulations, the Agency must work within the constraints of Title III of the MPRSA. Specifically, section 304(c) provides that NOAA cannot terminate valid leases, permits, licenses or rights of subsistence use or of access existing as of the date of Sanctuary designation but can regulate the exercise of such authorizations and rights consistent with the purposes for which the Sanctuary was designated.

B. Oil, Gas and Mineral Activities [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Part of the rationale for including boundary alternatives that would permit oil and gas activities in areas adjacent to the Sanctuary would be based on the assumption that the status quo regulatory and administrative offshore oil and gas regime is adequate in preventing significant adverse impacts of oil and gas activities on the environment. Oil and gas offshore operational technology has advanced considerably since the 1960's (Baker, 1985) and the experiences from past blowouts and spills have served as the catalyst for the present day, relatively strong Federal OCS oil and gas regulatory regime.

However, it is still possible that adverse environmental impacts may occur within the Sanctuary as a result of oil spills, synergistic effects of various discharges from oil and gas activities associated with nearness to a drilling site, or sublethal effects from low-level exposure to these wastes discharged from oil and gas activities.

Offshore hydrocarbon exploration, development and production activities, including the transshipment of oil to the mainland, may cause unforeseen and potentially substantial discharges of oil (chronic and catastrophic discharges) into the marine environment in a number of ways. Sanctuary uses, resources and qualities are at risk from the adverse impacts of: (1) well blowouts caused by equipment failure or damage and geologic hazards, (2) oil spills and pipeline leaks, (3) noise and visual disturbances caused by drilling, the presence of drill rigs or platform, work crews, supply boats, and helicopters, (4) pollution associated with aquatic discharges, and (5) short-term pipeline construction upheaval.

Table 28 summarizes the known threats to marine resources and qualities which result from offshore oil and gas activities. Estimates of the magnitudes of these threats (where possible) is given below.

Table 27: Environmental consequences of regulations

Table 27 (Cont.)

Table 28: Summary of threats to marine mammals

According to MMS (1987) the estimated mean number (Est. Mean #) and probability (Prob.) of each source of spill in the Central California planning area, using a Poisson distribution, is as follows:

Spills from OCS Sources in Central California
Est. Mean #

Spills From Other Sources in Central California
Est. Mean #
Current 5-Year Plan OCS Transport
Other Domestic Transport
Imported Transport

If oil companies discover major hydrocarbon resources during exploration, then an unknown amount of additional sales with associated development could occur with a corresponding increase in the probability of an oil spill. Likewise, the reverse may be true if less hydrocarbon resources are discovered than estimated. In addition to oil spills a wide variety of pollutant discharges are normally associated with OCS oil and gas development: drill cuttings and muds, sewage and trash, formation waters, marine corrosion products, and air pollutants (e.g. petroleum aerosol and exhausts).

Hazards to living resources from oil development operations can result from the on-site discharge of drill cuttings and drilling muds which may adversely affect benthic biota as well as fishery resources, seabirds and marine mammals. An estimated 302,000 barrels of muds and cuttings and 225 million barrels of formation waters would be discharged during the lifetime of potential OCS development off central California (MMS, 1987).

In 1983, the Marine Board of the National Research Council conducted a study of drilling discharges. The study found that these discharges present minimal risk to the marine environment. The Marine Board did note, however, that drilling discharges do have an impact on the immediate benthic environment (National Research Council - Marine Board, 1983). However, more recent research (EPA, 1985) has shown significant benthic impacts from platform discharges up to two miles from drilling sites. Air pollution discharges normally associated with hydrocarbon activities disperse rapidly into the atmosphere or ocean waters, and thus pose relatively minor threats to Sanctuary resources.

Oil and gas platforms, rig, and related activities produce both a visual intrusion on the scenic qualities of the area's seascape and disturbances due to construction activities and to the sound and movement of boats and helicopters (U. S. Bureau of Land Management, 1979). The continuous human activity associated with oil and gas development may disturb marine birds and marine mammals; particularly during sensitive nesting, pupping and migration seasons. If such disturbances are very close to shore, pinniped stampedes or sudden flights by nesting birds can occur (U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 1979).

During critical breeding periods such reactions could result in increased mortality rates in young marine birds and marine mammals (U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 1979). A higher general level of human intrusion feasibly could discourage pinnipeds such as the Steller sea lions from ever fully recovering at their breeding areas on Año Nuevo. Although the likelihood of this occurring has not been scientifically substantiated.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Oil and gas industry development in the area would potentially increase with the production of oil and gas for the Nation's energy needs. The necessary infrastructure for such development would involve coastal development and urbanization to provide support facilities for the offshore platforms. An increase in use may also have the indirect effect of displacing traditional uses such as fishing around areas used by the platforms Sightseeing may also be obstructed due to the aesthetic disturbance of the platforms.

2. Sanctuary Alternative 2 (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

By excluding hydrocarbon activities from the Sanctuary, the proposed final regulation establishes a "time and space" buffer area between oil and gas activities and particularly sensitive island and nearshore habitat areas.Table 29 describes how NOAA's proposed Sanctuary provisions will help mitigate the impacts of offshore oil and gas activities.

There are stipulations on oil and gas leases imposed by MMS in environmentally sensitive areas, and MMS regulations (30 CFR Part 250) address many safety and environmental concerns. However, considering the known vulnerability of the marine flora and fauna to oil spillage and the difficulty of containing oil spills in the

Table 29: Potential oil and gas development impacts

open ocean, a prohibition of oil and gas development is necessary to achieve formal acknowledgment, and better and more coordinated long- term stewardship of the region's significant offshore resources.

The proposed development of the OCS to the north of Monterey Bay poses concern due to the southward flowing current for much of the year, and the close juxtaposition of the breeding and resting habitat at Año Nuevo. The predominantly northward flow in coastal areas south of Point Sur may also move spilled oil into the Sanctuary from future exploration in the Santa Maria Basin.

The proposed prohibition on oil, gas and mineral activities throughout the preferred boundary alternative diminishes the threat of possible oil spills impacting the resources and qualities of the Monterey Bay area. The large size of the preferred boundary alternative ensures that in the event of an oil spill from OCS development outside of the Sanctuary, the oil would have to undergo a minimum amount of weathering before reaching sensitive nearshore and intertidal areas. The weathering process would allow the more toxic fractions of the petroleum to evaporate and would permit some natural dispersion to occur. Also, San Francisco Bay-based contingency crews would have more time to reach the spill site and deploy containment and/or diversion equipment either at sea or around entrances to highly vulnerable Bays and sloughs.

The proposed final regulation's prohibition of hydrocarbon activities throughout the Sanctuary would prevent certain discharges of contaminants due to routine rig and platform operations, which would occur if the tracts were leased and developed. The exclusion of oil and gas activities would eliminate concern for any adverse environmental impacts that may occur within the Sanctuary as a result of synergistic effects of various discharges, nearness to a drilling site, or sublethal effects from low-level exposure to these wastes discharged. While discharges outside the boundary may reach the proposed Sanctuary, their impacts will be minimized by dispersion and dilution. Further, discharges or deposits from beyond the boundaries of the Sanctuary that subsequently enter the Sanctuary and injure a Sanctuary resource or quality are prohibited.

Prohibition of hydrocarbon activities would enhance the offshore area's aesthetic wilderness qualities as well as those of the adjacent mainland coastal region due to the benefit of reducing discharge of pollutants to the atmosphere. Examples of this enhancement are the indirect benefits accruing to the Point Reyes National Seashore (a Class I area under the Clean Air Act) and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.The prohibition of oil and gas activities within the Sanctuary pursuant to future leases would reduce the potentially adverse aesthetic impacts from oil and gas platforms, rigs, pipeline construction, and other activities, and serve to preserve the wilderness character of the area's waters. While the significance of undisturbed views and wilderness is difficult to quantify in monetary terms, their protection is nonetheless important, particularly those in proximity to heavily populated urban areas such as the San Francisco Bay metropolitan region and considering the popularity of the Route 1 scenic drive along the Monterey Bay and Big Sur coastline. The area has never been exposed to offshore oil and gas development and no platforms have ever been visible from the shore.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

NOAA's proposed prohibition of future oil and gas exploration and development within the Sanctuary boundary would lessen the noise and human activity in coastal and offshore waters. It would also decrease the need for additional supply boats to enter the nearshore waters and overflights of helicopters that incidentally approach nesting or resting marine mammals or birds.

Given the wealth of sensitive renewable natural resources within the proposed Sanctuary, the high tourism and commercial fishery value of the area, and the present indications of low National oil and gas resource potential, it is NOAA's judgment that the net economic effect resulting from a restriction on hydrocarbon operations is most likely positive. The net economic effect of the proposed regulation depends largely on: the amount of hydrocarbon reserves foregone, dollar value of the oil, the estimated value of the renewable resources, and the economic value of the tourist industry.

It is thought that the proposed regulation would have positive economic effects in the long-run by contributing to the preservation and health of renewable sources of income, such as fishing and recreation, due to the long-term protection to such activities from potential oil spills, discharges and visual and acoustical disturbance. In addition, the Sanctuary research and education programs would have long-term benefits by enabling natural resource managers to make better informed decisions regarding the preservation, enhancement and possible additional economic benefits of the area's natural resources and uses. This regulation would however, eliminate any use of the area by the oil and gas industry.

MMS estimates that the high case conditional mean estimate of the undiscovered, economically recoverable oil resources for the entire Central California Planning area is 530 million barrels and 930 billion cubic feet of gas (Cooke and Dellagiarino, in press). The FEIS for the proposed 5-Year OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program Mid-1987 to Mid-1992 (MMS, 1987) states that one sale in the Central California planning area will produce approximately 153 million barrels of oil and 286 billion cubic feet of gas. As of 1989, it is estimated that the portion of the Central California Planning Area included in the preferred Sanctuary boundary has a conditional resource potential of 370 million barrels of oil and 580 billion cubic feet of gas with an estimated net economic value of 560 million to 1.1 billion dollars (Personal Communication, MMS, July, 1991).

It is possible that the proposed prohibition would reduce U.S. Treasury income from offshore lease sales and leasing royalties. The total amount of lost revenue estimated by MMS from these conditional resource estimates may be modified by the results of petroleum development pursuant to actual drilling associated with some future Lease Sale, as well as an analysis of economic feasibility and environmental and regulatory constraints. Economic feasibility is determined solely by the oil industry based on lease sale costs at the time of sale, current oil prices, proposed project costs, and environmental reviews and mitigation costs. Oil development costs and expected returns per investment are considered confidential information by the oil industry. Once again, environmental and regulatory constraints are impossible to identify due to the lack of experience of the Central California Planning Area with offshore oil and gas development.

All of the above estimates are based on conditional estimates of resources and no estimates of reserve quantities can be determined until drilling occurs. Projections on quantity and quality of oil reserves may be modified, based on the findings resulting from exploration in the Central California Planning Area and other factors which may make recovery more or less economically feasible, such as increases or decreases in the price of imported oil or prohibitive costs of or environmental restrictions on alternative energy sources. Thus, reliable estimates of the amount and value of hydrocarbon resources affected in the Central California OCS are not available. The proposed regulation would also affect the availability of oil and gas resources and State income from the leasing of tracts located in State waters. Data on the quantity of State oil and gas OCS resources in the central California area are not available. Currently, however, there is a State moratorium on such leasing.

C. Discharges or Deposits [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

The overall consequence of the status quo to resources is that with increasing human uses in the ocean and adjacent watersheds, discharges and deposits into the proposed Sanctuary can be predicted to increase thus further threatening the resources and qualities of the area, particularly in the coastal zone, and human uses such as fishing and recreation that depend upon high water quality.

(1) Discharges from Point Sources [Part IV TOC]

The CWA furnishes some protection to marine resources from the harmful effects of effluent discharges. Under the status quo, however, there would probably be no specialized effort by the USCG to enforce the CWA in the Monterey Bay area as distinct from other offshore waters.

Further, several Bay communities now discharge partially treated waste directly into ocean waters, portions of which are designated as State Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS). The City of Watsonville has received a waiver of secondary treatment requirements of the Clean Water Act (Section 301(h)) and is in the process of receiving a waiver renewal as the Sanctuary designation is being finalized. The City of Santa Cruz currently discharges sewage which has received advance primary treatment. Santa Cruz has entered into a consent decree with the California Water Quality Control Board stating that it will meet secondary treatment requirements by 1995.

Ocean outfalls, particularly those discharging partially treated matter into Monterey Bay, must continue to be assessed to determine the magnitude of their threat to sensitive marine resources. Much of this research still needs to be done however, an opportunity also exists to use already collected data and apply it to the management problems. Existing state and Federal regulatory and management arrangements appear to be striving toward alleviating harmful waste outfall loads over the long term in the interests of marine environmental protection. To date, implementation obstacles have hindered the attainment of regional waste treatment facilities sufficient to render ocean discharges environmentally safe. For example, a number of discrete areas along the coast of the Bay area are known to have high levels of specific contaminants. Local land point-source (eg. municipal and industrial dischargers) and non-point source discharges (eg. urban runoff and agricultural practices, much of which is upstream within the watersheds draining into Monterey Bay) are believed to be the cause of many of the pollutants. Questions remain as to not only the exact nature of the source and corresponding management measures but also the exact nature of the environmental consequences of the discharges and any potential health threats to humans and the environment.

One of the ecological consequences of desalination operations is that marine organisms with broad salinity tolerances are expected to predominate in the immediate vicinity of the discharge plume. In addition, certain trace elements, depending on the pH and oceanographic conditions will concentrate in the surface layer above the plume and prove to be toxic to plankton, fish eggs and larvae. There is also the possibility that concentrations of these chemicals could be wind or current driven into the intertidal zone, causing problems for other organisms.

The intake of water from the ocean for desalination plants will result in impingement and entrainment of marine species. The intake and discharge may also affect marine resources by altering shoreline currents and increasing turbidity, causing sedimentation and consequent smothering of biota, or lowering light levels with consequent impacts to kelp.

The high salt concentrations of the discharge and its fluctuations may kill organisms near the outfall that can not tolerate high salinity or fluctuations beyond its range. Discharges would be more dense than seawater and could sink to the bottom causing adverse impacts to benthic communities.

Mixing the brine discharge with sewage discharge may cause the sewage contaminants to aggregate in particles of different sizes that they would otherwise. Smaller particles would interfere with light penetration and reduce primary productivity and larger particles could be attractive to marine organisms and bioaccumulate through the food chain.

It can also be assumed that increasing population demands on the Monterey Bay coast will further degrade water quality in the future. The continued decline in wetland and slough habitat, beach closures for recreational users, decline in fish catches and the closure of shellfishing beds all indicate impacts to resources and qualities of the ocean environment indicative of a decline in water quality from many different sources. There is no single agency that reviews the discharges from an ecosystem or habitat perspective.

(2) Discharges from Non-Point Sources (NPS) [Part IV TOC]

Actual field and laboratory analyses done by the State on water quality monitoring, reports for the Monterey Bay drainage area, "values in mollusk tissues for pesticides and other toxicant --- suggest that the continuing release from soil to runoff of various insecticides and other agricultural by-products remains a potential threat to the aquatic and marine habitats of the Monterey Bay area". (Cal. State Mussel Watch data from 86-87, Water Quality Monitoring Report No. 88-3, Division of Water Quality/SWRCB, July 1988.)

It is possible that pollutants also enter the ocean surface of Monterey Bay from the air but magnitudes and effects of this source are completely unknown. The California Air Resources Board monitors ambient air quality as well as EPA and the Department of the Interior for Federal OCS activities.

(3) Hazardous waste, oil and trash disposal [Part IV TOC]

There is an unknown amount of pollutants and trash that enter the Monterey Bay area from the ocean. These discharges and deposits may have been transported far distances by ocean currents or may have come from passing vessels. In addition to reducing overall water quality and lessening the aesthetic appeal of the area, the discharge of litter may harm marine mammals that sometimes ingest or become entangled in such litter (Cava, 1989, personal communication). Pinnipeds entangled in plastic packing material or discarded fishing lines have occasionally been seen near the Farallon Islands and Channel Islands (Cava, 1989, personal communication). In areas of the northern Pacific Ocean as many as 8,000 fur seals become entangled in such debris annually (Haley, 1978). The incidence of the mortality associated with this type of mammal disturbance remains unclear.

The Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act (MPPRCA) of 1987 amends the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships to implement Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78), prohibiting the disposal by ships of plastics, such as fishing lines and bags. This protects marine animals and seabirds from ingesting these wastes while foraging, or becoming entangled in them, possibly leading to illness or death. The MPPRCA regulations also prohibit, for example, the disposal by ships of paper, rags, glass, metal bottles, crockery and similar refuse less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land; the disposal of dunnage lining and packing materials that float less than 25 nautical miles from the nearest land; and the disposal of victual waste less than 12 nautical miles from land (if ground, 3 nautical miles).

Discharges from fishing vessels during traditional fishing operations such as cooling waters from boat engines and fish wastes used in or resulting from such operations in the study area are unlikely to harm the resources of the study area. Discharges resulting from military activities in the area, such as smoke markers, sonobuoys and ordnance are slight and do not appear to pose a threat to the resources and qualities of the proposed Sanctuary. In addition, DOD vessels are required to be equipped with oil-water separators and that the water effluent from these devices be limited to 20 parts per million (PPM) oil within 12 nmi from land or 100 PPM beyond 12 nmi from land. The oil portion is retained on board for shore disposal.

(4) Ocean dumping [Part IV TOC]

Ocean dumping and municipal outfalls can smother benthic biota and introduce substances into the marine environment which may affect fish, bird, and mammal resources. However, the regulations under Title I of the MPRSA prohibit ocean disposal of dredged material proven to be toxic to the organisms of the disposal site. A study on the release of dredged material over a 100 fathom contour site near the Farallon Islands found a relatively abundant but not diverse benthic macrofauna. The study concluded that most of the dumped material went straight down and covered the bottom at an average depth of about 1 foot (0.3 m). Depending on use levels of such a disposal site, smothering and oxygen depletion could significantly harm the benthic community in the area (COE, 1975). However, in the case of Monterey Canyon the continuous natural disturbance at the Canyon head (the location of the existing disposal sites in the proposed Sanctuary) causes a naturally resilient benthic population (COE, 1977). Community resilience is correspondingly lower in the more complex and stable communities of deeper water (COE, 1977). Because of the environmental complexities of sediment, water and biological interactions, it is necessary to analyze the natural disturbance regime at the potential dredging or disposal site and its relation with the associated benthic communities for effective management.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Most regulatory decisions pertaining to dischargers are made on a case-by-case basis with the primary intent of facilitating the use rather than protecting the environment. Use of the Monterey Bay area for discharges is considered as an alternative without any special consideration of the area's nationally significant resources and qualities. Human uses that cause such discharge are not discouraged or caused to decrease. Therefore, from the Sanctuary perspective, certain gaps remain in the regulatory framework. For example, EPA approval is needed for ocean dumping and for any location of a new ocean outfall. EPA regulations take the ecological productivity and sensitivity of an area into consideration. Nevertheless, such regulations do not guarantee that EPA will prohibit the disposal of waste in the area based on threats to Sanctuary resources and qualities.

Desalination activities may not only provide freshwater but with associated impacts to marine resources the activities may also impact commercial or recreational fishing activities, intertidal nature viewing, and public access and recreation. New desalination plants could also lead directly to new development projects, and a resulting increase in population migration to coastal areas. Desalination projects that occur on a case-by-case basis development could occur in the proximity of each plant which may interfere with regional consideration of cumulative impacts to the coast and adjacent ocean environments.

2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

The proposed final regulations prohibiting discharge or deposit of materials or other matter (with certain limited exceptions) without NOAA approval complements the existing regulatory system, would enhance the area's overall recreational and aesthetic appeal, maintain the present good water quality in the Sanctuary, and help protect Sanctuary resources. By maintaining high water quality in the Monterey Bay area and regulating discharge and deposit activities from an ecosystem-wide perspective the impact of this regulation is predicted to protect the resources and qualities of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary above that of the status quo.

As the Sanctuary would not be terminating any existing uses that discharge or deposit into the Sanctuary it is only possible to predict that the Sanctuary would have a positive impact by restricting and potentially prohibiting future uses that threaten the resources and qualities of the Sanctuary. For example, it is possible to state that the prohibition on oil and gas activities would result in an elimination of an estimated 302,000 barrels of muds and cuttings and 225 million barrels of formation waters that would have been discharged during the lifetime of potential OCS development off central California. Without specific information on magnitudes, qualities and frequencies of future disposal activities and an estimate of the corresponding threats to the environment, no accurate analysis can be determined on the exact beneficial consequences of this Sanctuary regulation to the resources and uses of the Monterey Bay area.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

The impact of these regulations is expected to be beneficial to the users of the Monterey Bay area. The requirement of Sanctuary review of permits for municipal outfall and dredge disposal would ensure that these potentially harmful activities receive special consideration from the Sanctuary viewpoint. The regulation would not only help protect the area's resources and qualities but therefore, also uses such as aquaculture, research institutions, aquariums, fishing and recreation and tourism that depend upon high water quality and uncontaminated background seawater supplies.

Another positive effect of the regulations would be that by working within the existing regulatory process NOAA can provide and coordinate data from existing studies that can be used to make better informed management decisions by all agencies including the Sanctuary. For example, DDT and its degradation products have been found in the tissues of all eight species of marine fishes caught and analyzed from Monterey Bay (Shaw, 1972). The California Department of Fish and Game in cooperation with the California Department of Health Services is conducting an aquatic toxicology evaluation program in Monterey Bay (Welden, 1988). The main objectives of the program are to determine the average chemical contaminants found in a range of the most common commercial and sport-caught fish in the bay and to give a current risk-assessment of the effects of consuming them. Sanctuary management can use this data to attempt to formulate management measures to address and possibly mitigate the source of the pollution to assist in achieving a more healthy and productive fishery.

Finally, users of the Monterey Bay area for discharges and deposits would not be prohibited from, pursuant to existing permits, conducting their activities with designation. Discharges and deposits are subject to all prohibitions, restrictions and conditions validly imposed by any other authority of competent jurisdiction. In addition, NOAA may regulate the exercise of these existing permits or other authorizations (but not terminate them) to achieve the purposes for which the Sanctuary was designated. (See the MOA among the State of California, NOAA and EPA for how NOAA would administer its regulations relating to water quality within State waters within the Sanctuary in coordination with the State permit program.)

NOAA would also review applications for non-preexisting permits and other authorizations (and applicants must provide timely notice of the filing of the applications and any additional information NOAA deems necessary) and either approve them, approve them with terms and conditions, or disapprove them to ensure Sanctuary resources and qualities are protected. (Again, regarding administration within State waters within the Sanctuary, see the MOA.)

NOAA intends to consult with scientific institutions and local, State and regional organizations such as the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, as well with the holders of or applicants for any authorization or right and the relevant permitting authorities of these activities to determine means of achieving the Sanctuary purposes. The Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments acts as a clearing house in the Monterey Bay area for permits or licenses that require multi-agency review and comment. An opportunity exists to coordinate the necessary data analysis and research and consult within the existing regulatory framework to achieve water quality that is consonant with Sanctuary designation.

If additional conditions are necessary, NOAA will work with the permittees and permitting authorities to determine the necessary level of conditions to provide adequate protection of the proposed Sanctuary's resources. Procedures to ensure efficient administration of NOAA certification and other processes are laid out in the proposed final Sanctuary regulations and the MOA between the State of California, NOAA and EPA (See Appendix G). In general, NOAA intends to work with existing authorities to formalize the oversight and management role of the Sanctuary and increase Federal, State and local cooperative efforts to achieve the agencies mutual goals.

For example, the requirement of NOAA certification of existing permits for municipal sewage outfalls will ensure NOAA consideration of potential impacts on Sanctuary resources and qualities. The NOAA certification process will be coordinated with EPA and State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs). (See the MOA.) NOAA sign-off on future permits for municipal sewage outfalls is necessary in order for such outfalls not to be subject to Sanctuary regulatory prohibitions and will help ensure protection of Sanctuary resources and qualities.

Thus, if a city or town were discharging sewage effluents into the Bay pursuant to a valid National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued prior to the effective date of Sanctuary designation, the city or town could continue to discharge under the permit without being in violation of the discharge prohibition by requesting and obtaining certification of the permit in accordance with the proposed final Sanctuary regulations and MOA. Sanctuary management would be empowered to take into account when reviewing NPDES permits the sensitivity of Sanctuary resources and qualities to municipal discharge effluents. Such discharges would remain subject to all prohibitions, restrictions and conditions imposed by any other authority of competent jurisdiction.

The requirement of secondary treatment or greater, as necessary depending on the risk to Sanctuary resources and qualities, for new permits is only expected to have a minimal impact as only the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville are currently discharging at primary levels. The City of Santa Cruz has already been required to upgrade to secondary treatment by 1995. The City of Watsonville is in the process of receiving a 301(h) permit (renewal), and under the terms of the MOA has until November 1, 1998 to achieve secondary treatment.

In reviewing existing or future permits, licenses, approvals, or other authorizations, NOAA intends to encourage best available management practices to minimize non-point source pollution entering the Sanctuary. Sanctuary review of dumping and dredging activities will be done in coordination with the Harbor Masters, COE, EPA, and RWQCBs (which issue Waste Discharge Requirement permits (WDR)).

WDRs include prohibitions and discharge limitations including limited time intervals for disposal (WDR No. 88-73 and WDR No. 88- 68). In the case of the Moss Landing WDR (No. 88-73) and the Santa Cruz WDR (No. 88-68), there are also provisions that if the spoils are clean enough it is encouraged that they be used for beneficial beach nourishment. NOAA can work within this existing process to help ensure that these requirements are in place, enforced and adequate to protect the resources of the Sanctuary.

Use of designated ocean disposal sites SF-12 and SF-14 under existing Federal permits would continue.

NOAA, in cooperation with Moss Landing Harbor District the Central Regional Water Quality Control Board and EPA would review and monitor these activities and recommend modifications to existing permits if there is evidence that such activities injure or threaten Sanctuary resources and qualities. NOAA would ensure that Sanctuary research data is applied. Ocean disposal of any materials dredged from a site where pollution is possible must be preceded by bioassay tests to determine the effect on aspects of the marine environment. The test results will determine whether any material from Moss Landing and Santa Cruz may be legally dumped at any ocean disposal site in the area under Title I. The Sanctuary requirement of approval of new permits will assure review for possible impacts without imposing undue burdens.

Any proposed renewal of dumping permits for dredge spoils at the existing sites would be reviewed for the effects on Sanctuary resources and qualities, e.g., the benthic environment and any local populations of algae and kelp. The negative impacts of ocean dumping include smothering of benthic organisms, increase in water column turbidity resulting in potential damage to industry that requires pollutant-free water (such as for cooling purposes, refractories etc.), mariculture operations, shellfish harvesting, commercial and sport fishing and the negative aesthetics due to odor and water discoloration to contact and non-contact water recreation. The designation/use of new dredged material disposal sites in the Sanctuary would be prohibited.

The Sanctuary discharge and deposit regulations may impose additional costs by requiring the use of more expensive dredge disposal methods or dumping sites. The regulations could also result in additional costs if the Director were to determine that a higher level of treatment or other, more expensive sewage disposal methods were preferable to disposal in the Sanctuary. It is difficult to predict accurately the economic impact of the Sanctuary discharge and deposit regulations without analyzing specific proposals. The application of the regulations to dredge disposal and other dumping adds further protection of the resources and qualities to that afforded by the existing legislation. In addition, the COE and EPA are in the process of establishing a new dredged material disposal site as part of the San Francisco Bay Area's Long-Term Management Strategy (LTMS). One of five and a portion of a second study area would be unavailable for use as the Sanctuary boundary encompasses these areas and designation of new disposal sites in the Sanctuary is prohibited. However, the remaining study areas beyond the boundary of the Sanctuary, would remain available for eventual designation as a dump site.

NOAA will specifically work with EPA regarding the designation of new sites under Title I, Section 102 of the MPRSA near the Sanctuary and specifically the issuance of permits to avoid possible negative impacts to either GFNMS or MBNMS. Consultation with EPA regarding the designation of any new ocean disposal site near the Sanctuary will undertake to determine if there "is identifiable progressive movement or accumulation, in detectable concentrations above normal ambient values, of any waste within 12 nautical miles of any shoreline [or] marine sanctuary designated under Title III of the [MPRSA]" [emphasis added], (40 CFR 228.10(c)(1)(i)). If the effects of the activities at the disposal site are determined to be categorized in Impact Category I then the required Impact Analysis, generated by EPA, may be used by EPA as a basis for modifying the disposal site's use.

The effects of the discharges from desalination will depend on the particular constituents of the discharges and the conditions of the ocean area where the discharges will occur. Impacts to marine resources need to be studied both in the field and laboratory. Particular studies would be focused at the location of the outfall including dilution studies, inventory of organisms in the area and pre- and post-operational monitoring.

Finally, the Sanctuary would investigate all of the proposed desalination activities on a cumulative basis with regard to their combined impact on the entire Sanctuary ecosystem.

D. Historical Resources [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Many cultural and historical resources are known to exist in the area but few have been specifically examined and protected, particularly verification of sites and significance of shipwrecks. Generally, the area's potential as a baseline indicator of regional environmental conditions of interest to marine scientists and archaeologists appears under-utilized.

To date, surveys of the study area's submerged lands for historical resources have been limited. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), now MMS, for example, conducted a 1979 survey of the shipwreck literature in central and northern California as part of its EIS for lease Sale #53. This agency is required by law to consider potential disturbance and damage mitigation actions for significant underwater historic resources if there are nearby oil and gas activities.

The California State Lands Commission has a computer inventory of numerous sites of historical resources within State waters of the preferred Sanctuary boundary. It has an agreement with the University of California at Berkeley to provide further research to determine their historical significance.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Current activities would continue under the status quo without any special protection to historical sites beyond state waters and to the ecological impacts of taking historical resources throughout the Sanctuary. There would be no special requirements for private sector users such as treasure salvors and recreational divers or public sector agencies such as the Navy, to consider the historic and ecological consequences of their impact from a Sanctuary perspective.

2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

This regulation is aimed at protecting historical resources (as defined in the program and Sanctuary regulations, this term includes cultural, archeological and paleontological resources). As discussed earlier, the regulations provide for the possibility of issuance of a NOAA permit for various reasons, e.g., research or to further salvage or recovery operations in connection with an abandoned shipwreck in the Sanctuary title to which is held by the State of California.

NOAA will thus be able to ensure that all parties affecting historical resources within the Sanctuary conduct their activities in a systematic fashion according to recognized archeological procedures. NOAA will also be able to ensure that the activity is conducted consistent with the NHPA and that the proposed user consult with the California State Historic Preservation Officer.

As part of the Sanctuary management regime NOAA intends to research the number and type of historical resources within the boundaries of the Sanctuary, building on the research of others. This research will further our understanding of how to protect these resources so that they are available for future generations. Historical resources are defined as resources possessing historical, cultural, archaeological or paleontological significance, including sites, structures, districts, and objects significantly associated with or representative of earlier people, cultures, human activities and events. Thus any inundated prehistoric aboriginal sites and associated artifacts, as well as shipwrecks would be included in the resource protection regime of the proposed Sanctuary.

NOAA will also seek National Register listing of appropriate identified resources located in the Sanctuary under the National Historic Preservation Act. The State has indicated that it will also do so, with regard to resources in State waters. Listing would make available grant and survey funds from the Secretary of the Interior (Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service) to be used to identify resource distributions and assess their significance. Placement on the National Register also ensures careful review of proposed Federal activities which could adversely affect identified resources. However, listing does not prevent removal or damage of the resource by non-Federal entities.

Historical resources in the marine environment are fragile, finite and non-renewable. This prohibition is designed to protect these resources so that they may be researched and information about their contents and type made available to the public.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

The proposed final regulation should not significantly affect existing activities within the Sanctuary. However, new coastal development activities such as desalination and discharge outfall construction would need to consider the proximity of historic resources to their proposed activity to avoid potential injury to these valuable resources. Users such as Navy salvage operations, recreational divers and treasure salvors would have to obtain Sanctuary permit if their proposed activity would violate the Sanctuary prohibition.

NOAA can also impose penalties of up to $50,000/violation for infractions of this regulation to implement NOAA's responsibility for the proper management of historic artifacts. This regulation does not apply to moving, removing or injury resulting incidentally from kelp harvesting, aquaculture or traditional fishing operations.

E. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Loss of resources, habitats and degradation of water quality will continue with the predicted increase in activities that involve alteration and construction of the seabed. Sand mining in the area when it was occurring caused loss of benthic habitat and erosion of the seabed (Evaluation of Request for Renewal of Permits for the Monterey Sand Company by Kendell and Bitterman, 1988). Recently, all requests to continue sand mining in the surf zone have been withdrawn. A sediment budget analysis performed for Monterey Bay indicates a budget deficit. This signifies an erosional rather than a depositional trend for the Bay (Oradive, 1986). The results of the analysis indicate that about 2.1 million cubic yards of sediment are deposited annually into the bay while an estimated 2.34 million cubic yards of sediment are lost annually. Sediment deposition occurs from cliff erosion, river discharges, and longshore drift-- half of these are from river discharges. Sediment losses occur from deposition into the submarine canyon, sand mining operations, off-shore deposition by rip currents, and eolian sediment transport to the dunes.

Longshore transport along the bay is generally in a southerly direction. The discharge of sediment from the San Lorenzo, Pajaro, and Salinas Rivers has, through the ages, combined with this southerly transport and the prevailing northwesterly breeze to build the expansive sand dunes along the bay (McGee, 1986). Since erosion of the beach has occurred in the vicinity of this mining, some researchers believe it has increased because of the mining (Griggs, 1986; McGrath, 1986, 1987). Combellick and Osborne (1977) state that mining and weak longshore transports of new sand are the principal factors causing erosion. Because most sand transported along the northern bay is lost to the submarine canyon, the only source of suspended sand in the southern bay is the Salinas River. This river source does not appear to be adequate to support sand mining without erosion occurring. Porter et al. (1979) concluded in 1975 that the quantity of sand supplied to the southern beaches from the Salinas River is inadequate to consider the mined sand as a renewable resource (in Clark and Osborne, 1982). Thus the major source of the mined sand appears to be the historic and current erosion of the nearshore sand dunes.

The current limited dredging and disposal activities at current frequencies, magnitudes and quality at existing sites in the proposed Sanctuary area do not appear to pose a significant threat to the resources of the area. Disposal of clean sand dredge material on beaches assists with beach replenishment projects. Disposal at the head of the Monterey Canyon does not appear to significantly injure benthic invertebrate populations due to the resilience of these communities to natural seabed disturbances (see analysis for dredge disposal consequences of impacts under status quo for discharges and deposits). However, new disposal at sites other than the head of the canyon is likely to cause an increase in turbidity and destruction of benthic communities.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Currently, dredging, dredge disposal, and related uses involving seabed alteration are not extensive in the study area (see Part II, Section 2). Ocean disposal of dredge spoil from local harbors is an ongoing activity and in certain cases such as with clean sand dredge material, is deposited on shores for beach nourishment. Certain activities, such as routine harbor maintenance and installation of navigation aids are also vital for the local economy and safety of the users in the proposed Sanctuary. Studies are currently underway to determine a new ocean disposal site off of the Golden Gate for dredged material from San Francisco Bay. (See previous discussion under ocean dumping--C.2.b. of this part).

However, if the pace of activities or demand for uses such as sand mining, strip mining and ocean mineral mining should be proposed in the future there is a potential for severe environmental threats to the resources of the Monterey Bay area. These activities are known to increase the turbidity of the water column, disturb and alter benthic communities on the ocean floor, and alter natural erosion and sedimentation rates. Once again the regulatory regimes responsible for these uses may not take into account the ecosystem perspective or sensitivity of area resources and qualities.

2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Over the short and long term, human intrusion upon marine wildlife, along with potentially adverse impacts on their food supplies (e.g., benthic and pelagic fish resources), will be minimized by regulating activities that alter the seabed and Sanctuary habitats.

Dredge and dredge disposal activities are not extensive within the preferred alternative's proposed Sanctuary boundaries (see Part II, Section 2); nevertheless, unrestricted alteration of, construction on, or drilling of the seabed represents a potential threat to marine resources. Foremost among these adverse impacts would be increased turbidity levels, disruption or displacement of benthic and intertidal communities, and human intrusions near marine bird and marine mammal concentrations. This proposed final regulation would allow limited and ecologically sound dredging (particularly for harbor entrance channels) at levels fairly certain not to harm breeding grounds, haul-out and foraging areas.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Overall there is expected to be a positive impact to the users of the Monterey Bay area. With Sanctuary designation, no existing activities are proposed to be terminated and only new sand mining (there is no current sand mining) and ocean dredge disposal at new sites will be prohibited. Recently, two companies requesting permits authorizing sand mining in the Sanctuary withdrew their requests. Thus no economic impacts upon commercial firms are expected. The prohibition of ocean dumping activities at new sites in the Sanctuary will delete one and a portion of a second of the five study areas under consideration off of the Golden Gate. However, three sites remain available outside the western boundary of the Sanctuary. Minimal impacts are expected as indications are that the preferred disposal site would be beyond the boundary of the Sanctuary.

Harbors (with the exception of a portion of Moss Landing) are excluded from the boundary of the Sanctuary and these special areas and uses would continue to be managed by the status quo. Beyond the harbor exclusion zones, i.e., inside the Sanctuary, harbor maintenance in the areas necessarily associated with existing Federal Projects including dredging of entrance channels and repair, replacement or rehabilitation of breakwaters and jetties, and installation of navigation aids are exempted from the Sanctuary regulatory prohibition. The regulation of projects for docks and piers in the nearshore area will remain the responsibility of the existing regulatory authorities.

The regulation prohibits persons from placing any structure or other matter on the seabed, such as but not limited to artificial reefs, pipelines and outfalls unless relevant permits are reviewed and certified or approved by NOAA. The prohibition also includes placement or abandonment of any structure or other matter on the seabed, which includes vessels that run aground and thereby helps ensure that the owners and operators are responsible for their removal.

Existing holders of authorizations have an obligation to seek certification from NOAA. Existing activities, would be monitored by NOAA and NOAA may require conditions on their existing permits if it determines that these activities may injure a Sanctuary resource or quality.

The activities exempted from this regulation would be monitored by the Sanctuary manager, based on information supplied by the EPA, COE, the State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission. If the data collected demonstrate that a greater degree of Sanctuary oversight is appropriate, amendments to the regulations could be proposed.

F. Taking Marine Mammals, Turtles and Seabirds [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

The abundant and diverse marine mammals and seabirds that exist in the Monterey Bay area currently use their habitats in close proximity to a number of human activities. So far there is no specific evidence that marine mammals, turtles or seabirds are threatened by any one activity. However, a number of conflicts potentially exist between human and marine mammal and seabird uses of the Monterey Bay area. Specifically, sportdivers compete with sea otters for abalone and commercial fishery nets may threaten diving seabirds and submerged marine mammals.

The current regulatory regime under the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce gives each Department the authority to designate and protect oceanic habitats if found to be "critical," for species listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the ESA prohibit the "taking" of marine mammals and threatened or endangered species. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) prohibits the taking, killing, possessing, selling and other specified forms of exploitation of migratory birds. The term "taking" is defined broadly under the ESA and MMPA and has been interpreted by the administering agencies, so that the ESA and MMPA provide considerable protection. However, the potential threats to marine mammals and endangered species range from direct injuries to a specific animal or population to indirect or cumulative degradation of their habitats. Neither the MMPA nor the ESA fully prevent such degradation of habitats. Section 7(a) of the ESA does provide protection against actions which jeopardize endangered species or their critical habitats, but this section applies only to activities authorized, funded or carried out by Federal agencies, not to private or state actions. There is no explicit provision for the designation or protection of marine mammal habitats under the MMPA. Thus, the MMPA, ESA and MBTA together provide considerable protection to the marine mammals, turtles and seabirds of the Sanctuary by prohibiting the taking of specific species protected under those acts.

A portion of the habitat area used by marine mammals and seabirds foraging at Monterey Bay is already protected under the National Marine Sanctuary Program. The nearby GFNMS provides protection for marine habitats used by mammals and seabirds, but Monterey Bay, which is an important feeding ground for many of the same mammals and seabirds and which also supports a unique combination of benthic organisms, is not similarly protected under the present regime.

With the exception of the Title III of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), no Federal authority currently exists to identify and protect localized marine habitats of exceptional importance to non-endangered species. However, Title III of the MPRSA has never been implemented in the Monterey Bay area. Also, while the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act proscribe the hunting and taking of marine mammals and migratory birds, they do not protect their habitats from potentially adverse uses. Such program deficiencies have left certain valuable marine habitats largely unprotected.If current uses intensify and seriously threaten resources, the lack of suitable management authority to intervene could allow undesirable environmental impacts to the seabirds, marine mammals and turtles of the area.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Currently the status quo addresses the taking of marine mammals and seabirds under relevant legislation. Marine mammals (except sea otters) may be taken incidentally to commercial fishing pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1383a until October 1993, after which rulemaking pursuant to 16 U.S.C 1371, 1373 and 1374 may be required. Fishing activities that potentially take marine mammals are required to have observers on board to monitor the extent of the mortality. Researchers studying marine mammals are required under the MMPA to obtain a permit for their activities.

2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

The proposed regulation would overlap with the MMPA, MBTA and ESA but also extend protection consistent with the intent of the MPRSA to protect the Sanctuary resources on an environmentally holistic basis. The proposed regulation would include all marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds in or above the Sanctuary.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

The regulation would not preclude a number of current activities from continuing. For example, scientific research on marine mammals and seabirds as research on Sanctuary resources is encouraged as part of the Sanctuary mandate. To facilitate this research the proposed final regulations allow the issuance of Sanctuary permits for research. If the research is on Federal or State designated endangered species or on marine mammals, the researchers are already required to obtain permits from the relevant management agency and would not have to obtain a Sanctuary permit or other approval under the proposed final regulation.

As another example, NOAA will work with existing fisheries management agencies as well as National and local fishery organizations (e.g., the PCFFA) to ensure that the incidental taking of seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals in commercial fishing nets is minimized.

Finally, rehabilitation of injured, and studies on dead seabirds and marine mammals, would be permitted under these Sanctuary regulations in response to an emergency threatening life, property, or the environment or pursuant to a research permit.

G. Overflights [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

There have been reports of low-flying aircraft (below 1000' AGL) in areas of Monterey Bay which have startled bird populations and caused stampedes of marine mammals. There are a number of small, private airfields in the Monterey Bay area and often small planes can be observed flying along the coastline. Low helicopter overflights have also been known to cause the drowning of sea otter pups after parents desert the young when disturbed by the noise and downdraft of the helicopter's rotor blades. Low aircraft overflights (below 1000 feet) have been observed regularly to disturb bird and mammal communities in the neighboring Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

The California Department of Fish and Game regulations that presently prohibit overflights less than 1000 ft above the Año Nuevo Reserve, Point Lobos Reserve and the California Sea Otter Game Refuge appear to provide adequate protection to the resources of these particular areas from visual and acoustical disturbances from aircraft but are limited in their offshore extent. In addition, although the Federal Aviation Administration charts and NOAA's San Francisco Sectional Aeronautical Chart indicate a Notice to Pilots that prohibits flights below 1000 ft (305 m) Above Ground Level (AGL) over the Año Nuevo and Point Lobos State Reserves and the California Sea Otter Game Refuge, other sensitive areas to the north of the Refuge at Carmel Bay are not protected. Persistent low altitude overflights can severely disrupt various marine mammal and seabird behavior patterns, particularly those of breeding and nesting.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Although only a few commercial charter airplanes are providing opportunities to view marine mammals and seabirds from the air, these uses can be expected to increase. A seaplane operation based out of Santa Cruz provides a service for visitors who wish to observe Monterey Bay from the air. Small private planes often fly low along the coast to view the coastal environment. This use can also be expected to increase with the growing population in the area. Any future OCS leasing would involve an increase in air traffic from helicopter overflights servicing offshore platforms from coastal support facilities.

2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

This prohibition is intended to protect marine birds and mammals from the disturbance and harassment of low-flying aircraft.

For example, seabirds congregated near the shoreline, pinniped haul- out areas, and sea otters among the kelp beds are all primarily concentrated within these four zones.

In particular, adjacent water areas where marine animals forage would receive additional protection from potentially disruptive overflights. The 1000 ft (305 m) minimum height parallels the National Marine Fisheries Services's selective prohibition of overflights under 1000 ft (305 m) in areas where marine wildlife harassment is likely. The Sanctuary regulation would contribute to the protection of natural undisturbed behavior patterns of marine mammals and birds concentrating and breeding along island and mainland shorelines.

Marine mammals and birds are highly susceptible to disturbance from low-flying aircraft. Sanctuary management experience with similar regulations in the Channel Islands and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries has revealed that one can enforce such regulations from the ground by observing the Identification Numbers on aircraft flying below 1000' and then reporting the incident to the appropriate airfield. NOAA would monitor the current status and future trends of overflights to determine if the regulation of overflights should be expanded to protect additional areas.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Private recreational overflights outside the restricted area, which occur regularly but almost entirely along the mainland coast anyway (e.g., for whale migration watching), would not be affected if beyond three miles of mean high water. Over the prohibited zones, planes would still be able to enjoy general scenic and whale observation opportunities, albeit from altitudes of 1000 feet (305 m) or above.

Uses of the area's air space below 1000 feet necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, property, or the environment or necessary for valid law enforcement purposes, such as Coast Guard search and rescue operations and enforcement operations, would be exempted. Department of Defense (DOD) activities would be subject to the Sanctuary regulation on DOD activities discussed in Part III. Because no commercial airlines fly regular routes over the prohibited zones at these low altitudes, this regulation should pose no burden on commercial carriers. Helicopters servicing offshore oil and gas platforms would be required to fly over 1000' if passing over the prohibition zones. However, as oil and gas development would be prohibited within the Sanctuary the consequences of this regulation to this type of overflight is expected to be minimal.

Aircraft that need to fly below 1000 feet within these zones for research purposes would need to obtain a Sanctuary research permit. The application would be processed expeditiously to ensure that while Sanctuary resources and qualities are protected there would only be a minimal administrative burden on the applicant.

H. Operation of "Personal Water Craft" [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

The high density of inshore flora and fauna and vulnerability of these resources to personal water craft warrants protection from this activity. Personal water craft are capable of travelling at speeds which allow insufficient time for some marine species to avoid the vessels. For example, in August, 1990, a jet skier reportedly ran over sea otters near the Coast Guard Pier in Monterey Harbor. Officials found at least one injured otter immediately afterwards. It is likely that such events will occur again. These risks also apply to harbor seals, sea lions, sea turtles, some fish species and marine birds.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Personal water crafts are a relatively new form of water sport. In the Monterey Bay area they are usually only operated in small numbers and during the summer. However, the abundance and rapid growth of other uses of the area, including recreational water- sports, warrants a long-term perspective on the management of uses of the proposed Sanctuary. In addition, there is growing awareness of conflicts with other user groups of the area that has recently resulted in the promulgation of specific regulations intended to minimize these conflicts. (i.e., The city of Santa Cruz restricts the operation of jet skis near beaches traditionally used by surfers).

The State of Hawaii has already proposed regulations that would permit operation of personal water craft only in specified areas, in part to avoid injury to neighboring marine mammals.

2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

This regulation is intended to reduce negative impacts of this activity, in particular, on coastal populations of marine mammals and seabirds which are especially vulnerable to disturbance and injury from this activity. Zoning of this activity away from the kelp beds and estuaries of the area will prevent conflicts with sea otters, other animals and fragile estuarine communities.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Overall the impact of this regulation should be beneficial to users of the area. Many conflicts that currently arise from interference between personal water craft operators and other recreationists will be avoided by moving these water crafts beyond the primary areas of other recreational activities. Personal water craft operators will still be able to participate in this activity within areas traditionally used or close to them and near to coastal access points.

I. Vessel Traffic [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Most intentional discharges of oil from vessels (and some releases of air pollutants) generated during loading and off-loading are explicitly regulated by existing regulations. Other potential threats due to vessels, such as noise and visual disturbances, propeller hits, and groundings, are not (and in certain instances cannot be) controlled or prevented.

Disturbance from vessels could result in flight or other changes in behavior. Repeated disturbances may cause mammals to temporarily or permanently abandon an area. Trash disposal can cause injury to marine resources from ingestion and entanglement. (Recent implementation of Annex V of MARPOL by the United States makes it illegal for any vessel to dump plastic trash anywhere in the ocean or navigable waters of the United States and illegal to dump other types of garbage in the ocean depending on the type of garbage and distance from shore (see Appendix C for details of these restrictions.)

However, the threat to coastal and marine resources and qualities from vessel traffic appears to be most severe from large oil tanker and barge spills. The recent disaster of the Exxon Valdez grounding off Valdez, Alaska, highlights the severe environmental and socioeconomic damage that results from oil spills in the marine environment. Recently there were three such tanker oil spills on the East Coast: in Rhode Island and Texas on June 23, 1989; and on the Delaware River near the Port of Philadelphia on June 24, 1989. The largest of these resulted when the Uruguayan oil tanker President Rivera ran aground near Philadelphia, releasing 298,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware River. At Narragansett Bay, the Greek- registered World Prodigy grounded on Brenton Reef near Newport, dumping 300,000 gallons of oil. In Texas, the tanker Rachel B. collided with a barge resulting in 252,000 gallons of oil spilling into the Houston Ship Channel.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Pollution Retrieval System (July, 1989), since 1973 there have been an average of just under 10,000 oil pollution reports per year. Since 1980 there have been 588 incidents of 10,000 bbl or greater (43 tankers, 109 barges, 58 miscellaneous vessels and 378 non-vessel incidents). In the year 1988 alone there were 5.5 million gallons of oil spilled, of which 60% was attributable to vessels.

Four spills have recently occurred off the West Coast: the tanker Puerto Rican near San Francisco in 1984, the oil barge Nestucca off the coast of Washington in 1988, the Exxon Valdez near Valdez, Alaska in March, 1989, and the American Trader in 1990. The Exxon Valdez disaster has received much publicity and scientific investigations are currently underway on the long-term effects of the spill and possible future management measures (CMC, 1989).

The example closest to Monterey Bay was the Puerto Rican spill. This tanker was disabled about eight miles seaward of the Golden Gate by on-board explosions. The vessel eventually broke apart and discharged refined oil products that entered the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS). The progress of this incident demonstrates the seriousness of the potential hazard to Monterey Bay.

The Puerto Rican was disabled shortly before the predicted on- set of the Davidson current, which reverses the direction of California coastal currents from a southerly to northerly flow (See Part II, Section II). The wind and current direction in the San Francisco Bight, however, was still to the south. Initial trajectory estimates indicated that spills occurring in the area would move southward. It was therefore decided to tow the burning vessel out to sea, south of the Farallon Islands. The ship broke apart southwest of the Farallon Islands and the resulting spill did move southward initially. Unexpectedly, wind and current direction changed and the spill moved rapidly north through the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and up to, and beyond Bodega Bay.

Some 48,000 barrels of hydrocarbons were released into the ocean from the Puerto Rican. Of this amount, only 1,460 barrels were recovered during cleanup operations (USCG, 1985). This spill killed an estimated 2,874 seabirds, and did an unquantified amount of damage to water quality, fishery resources, marine mammals, and human uses. By comparison, in February, 1986, the tanker barge Apex Houston spilled some 600 barrels of oil along the central California coast killing an estimated 9,817 seabirds within the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Given the expected increases in vessel traffic, and the potential for vessel accidents and oil spills and the risks of vessels entering nearshore waters and disturbing marine bird and mammal populations, threats to Sanctuary resources and qualities seems likely to increase.

Although it is impossible to eliminate all probability of such accidents the U.S. Coast Guard is working on proposals to reduce vessel accidents off the shore of California by creating Vessel Traffic Separation Schemes (VTSS), an internationally recognized routing measure that separates vessels into opposing streams of traffic through the establishment of traffic lanes; and Shipping Safety Fairways (SSF), where no fixed structures are permitted. Such schemes have to be approved by the International Maritime Organization before they take effect. Once in place adherence to the traffic lanes by vessels is entirely voluntary.

The U.S. Coast Guard was examining an extension of the existing San Francisco TSS an additional 28 nmi to the south-southeast along the coast to a point approximately due west of Santa Cruz. Two parallel one-mile wide SSFs were proposed from the termination of the extended TSS to the Santa Barbara Channel TSS at Point Arguello. With the exception of the waters off Point Conception, the proposed routing system followed current traffic patterns along the coast. Pillar Point was the nearest area of the coast to the amended shipping lanes (about 5 nmi). Point Sur was approximately 8 nmi away, while Año Nuevo was 10 nmi distant.

This proposal is now on hold and alternatives to the TSS described above are being considered that would provide additional safeguards from the possibilities of collisions and of oil spills reaching the shore of the Monterey Bay area.

The USCG voluntary vessel traffic lanes out of San Francisco currently receive a very high level of compliance. Under the existing regulatory system commercial vessels, including tankers and other bulk carriers may transit anywhere in the proposed Sanctuary. This includes the very sensitive nearshore areas, where they could cause visual disturbances and create increased danger of pollution, both from operational discharges and from accidental groundings. Generally, based on good seamanship, large vessels are kept at a considerable distance from the shore.

Local vessel traffic will probably increase considerably with the development of the tracts to be leased in the Central California OCS due to servicing requirements and transportation of produced oil. Many of those vessels may be capable of navigating quite near to Año Nuevo and other offshore areas. Environmental consequences and risks of local tanker traffic associated with central California OCS oil and gas development offshore central California are considered separately under the section on oil, gas and mineral activities.

Generally speaking, few large vessels transiting the study area's customary lanes and adjacent ocean waters have occasion to enter Monterey Bay. The only exception is oil tankers, originating primarily at San Francisco Bay refineries, which utilize the Bay for nearshore off-loading at the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) power plant. This traffic represents a continuing environmental concern, especially in regard to certain Monterey Bay marine mammal and seabird communities, should oil spills occur either in nearshore transit (due to grounding or collisions) or while off-loading. Vessels presently follow routine and safe entry and exit procedures into and out of the Bay and unload one at a time. The USCG's Monterey station keeps a close watch on these operations with regard to marine environmental protection. No major spills have ever occurred in the Bay although minor accidental discharges have been documented. A proposed expansion of Moss Landing's offshore terminal by PG&E has been withdrawn. Consequently, oil product delivery pattern--at least in term of tanker vessel size--will remain the same, i.e., 50,000 DWT maximum.

2. Sanctuary Alternative [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Instead of promulgating a regulation that may not adequately protect Sanctuary resources and qualities NOAA prefers to immediately work with the U.S. Coast Guard to determine an effective action that will provide the greatest possibility of preventing injury to Sanctuary resources and qualities. In the meantime, Sanctuary resources and qualities will continue to be at risk from this no action alternative with the potential consequences already described above under the Status Quo.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Without detailed consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard it is difficult to calculate the impact to U.S. vessels affected by a Sanctuary regulation. Immediate NOAA action may only apply to U.S. Flag vessels as the action would not have gone through the IMO.

However, immediate action, of any kind, would alleviate some of the public concern that the Sanctuary is vulnerable to vessel traffic impacts to natural resources. Potentially, such NOAA action would also have a positive impact to other recreational and fishing user groups.

J. Fishing, Kelp Harvesting and Aquaculture [Part IV TOC]

1. Status Quo (Preferred) [Part IV TOC]
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

What little data exist show that there is minimal impact to the benthic resources on the ocean floor from roller trawling and that both trawlers and gill-netters are now prohibited from fishing in nearshore areas with high concentrations of marine mammals and seabirds, thus helping minimize any incidental taking of these species. Impacts of Kelp harvesting in the area on associated species of the kelp habitat remain unstudied. Aquaculture impacts range from lowering of water quality to disturbance of benthic habitats in the immediate vicinity of the activity.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Fisheries in general have benefitted from Sanctuary status at other Sanctuaries in the Program due to the protection provided to the industry and fish stocks from the negative impacts of ocean dumping, offshore oil and gas development, seabed mining and water pollution. Fishing activities are also predicted to benefit from designation of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary. Fishing in the Sanctuary is regulated other than under the MPRSA by Federal and State authorities.

NOAA did evaluate the possibility of proposing some additional Sanctuary regulation of fishing. However, the existing management authorities, the California Department of Fish and Game, NMFS and the PFMC, have comprehensive management authority over these resources. The close coordination and consultation which has already been initiated between the PFMC, CDF&G and NOAA indicates that Sanctuary concerns, if any, will be fully communicated to the authorities dealing with these on-going management issues. Notwithstanding the above, the absence of specific fishing regulations does not absolve fishermen from obeying not only existing State and Federal regulations but also Sanctuary regulations of general application, which are designed to protect Sanctuary resources and qualities.

Finally, as part of the Sanctuary research and management regime, NOAA will consider supporting periodic monitoring of the effects of trawling and gillnetting on the Sanctuary resources and qualities. NOAA will also consider the possibility of making funds available for technical assistance for studying the area's marine finfish, shellfish, and algae resources and for strengthening the present enforcement capabilities of the CDF&G and other enforcement entities including the NMFS and the USCG.

2. Sanctuary Alternative [Part IV TOC]

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources [Part IV TOC]

Sanctuary regulations at the time of designation would be intended to protect identified resources at risk from the threat of fishing activities. Such regulations would require extensive consultation with affected parties and agencies and no major threat has yet been identified. Recent state legislation appears to address many of the potential threats such as from gill nets and roller trawling. There does not appear to be any major benefit to the environment with promulgation of Sanctuary regulations on fishing with designation. With regard to kelp harvesting and aquaculture, addition of kelp harvesting and aquaculture to the scope of future regulations anticipates any future data or events that may arise indicating Sanctuary action may be necessary to protect sanctuary resources and qualities.

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses [Part IV TOC]

Sanctuary regulations would add another set of restrictions on the currently heavily regulated fishing industry. Many boats have already been required to move further offshore from ecologically sensitive areas and additional area closures would add to this burden. Individuals and groups that would benefit from Sanctuary regulations would include recreationists and nature watchers if the regulations result in more abundant and healthy fish, seabird and marine mammal populations. Aquaculture and kelp harvesting remain unregulated by the Sanctuary regulatory regime with designation and any future action would be done in cooperation with relevant Federal and state agencies, particularly California Department of Fish and Game, as well as affected parties.


Section III

Part IV Table of Contents

I. Section: Boundary Alternatives

A. Introduction IV-5
B. Boundary Alternative 1 IV-5
C. Boundary Alternative 2 IV-8
D. Boundary Alternative 3 IV-10
E. Boundary Alternative 4 IV-11
F. Boundary Alternative 5 IV-12
G. Boundary Alternative 6 IV-13
H. Boundary Alternative 7 IV-14
II. Section: Regulatory Alternatives IV-16
A. Introduction IV-16
B. Oil, Gas and Mineral Activities IV-17
1. Status Quo IV-17
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-17
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-22
2. Sanctuary Alternative 2 (Preferred) IV-22
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-22
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-25

C. Discharges or Deposits

1. Status Quo IV-27
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-27
(1) Discharges from Point Sources IV-27
(2) Discharges from Non-Point Sources (NPS) IV-28
(3) Hazardous waste, oil and trash disposal IV-29
(4) Ocean dumping IV-30
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-30
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) IV-31
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-31
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-31

D. Historical Resources


1. Status Quo

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-36
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-36
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) IV-36
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-36
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-37
E. Alteration of or Construction on the Seabed IV-39
1. Status Quo IV-39
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-39
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-40
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) IV-40
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-40
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-41

F. Taking Marine Mammals, Turtles and Seabirds

1. Status Quo IV-42
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-42
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-43
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) IV-43

a. Consequence of Impact to Resources

b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-43
G. Overflights IV-45
1. Status Quo IV-45
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-45
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-45
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) IV-45
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-45
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-46

H. Operation of "Personal Water Craft"

1. Status Quo IV-48
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-48
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-48
2. Sanctuary Alternative (Preferred) IV-48
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-48
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-48
I. Vessel Traffic IV-50
1. Status Quo (Preferred) IV-50
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-50
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-51
2. Sanctuary Alternative IV-53
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-53
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-53

J. Fishing, Kelp harvesting and Aquaculture

1. Status Quo (Preferred) IV-54
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-54
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-54
2. Sanctuary Alternative IV-54
a. Consequence of Impact to Resources IV-54
b. Consequence of Impact to Uses IV-55

III. Section: Management Alternative Consequences

A. Consequences of Status Quo IV-56
1. Enforcement IV-56
2. Research and Education IV-57
B. Consequences of Sanctuary Alternative 1. IV-58
1. Enforcement IV-58
2. Research and Education IV-58
C. Consequences of Sanctuary Alternative 2 (Preferred) IV-58
1. Enforcement IV-58
2. Research and Education IV-59
IV. Section: Unavoidable Adverse Environmental or Socioeconomic Effects IV-61
V. Section: Relationship Between Short-term Uses of the Environment and the Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-term Productivity IV-63
Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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