National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

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Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page


This site characterization of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is a summary of existing information about MBNMS natural resources. We consider this a "living document" to be continually updated. Two main products have been completed:

1) a summary document covering the MBNMS physical setting (Geology, Physical Oceanography, Climate & Meteorology, Chemical Oceanography), biological communities and assemblages (River Mouths, Brackish and Estuarine Wetlands; Coastal Dunes; Sandy Beaches; Rocky Intertidal; Kelp Forest and Rocky Subtidal; Shallow Soft Bottoms; Deeper Bottoms; Cold Seep Communities; Pelagic Habitats; Marine Mammals; Seabirds & Shorebirds; Anadromous Fishes), and human influences (Early Uses of Resources; Socioeconomic Uses; Resource Needs), and

2) a bibliographic database of peer-reviewed and "gray" literature pertinent to MBNMS, including all literature cited in the summary document as well as other pertinent references obtained from research, educational and resource management institutions; consulting groups; interviewed experts; and independent searches.