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Marine Sanctuary Expansion

Permanent Protection for Our Sonoma and Mendocino Coastlines is Within Reach

Sonoma Coast

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure permanent protection for one of the most iconic and sensitive portions of the California coast. The spectacular beauty of our coastline between Bodega Bay and Pt. Arena attracts millions of visitors, but it’s what you can’t see with the naked eye that makes this place so special.

In this region, one of the four most productive ocean upwelling systems on the planet brings nutrient-rich waters from the depths. Seasonal surface currents and prevailing winds carry this rich foodsource southward to provide the base of the marine food chain for an abundance of aquatic and avian life extending at least as far south as the Monterey Canyon. More than half of California’s nesting seabirds around the Farallon Islands, a multitude of productive fisheries, prolific marine mammal populations, several species of endangered whales, and white sharks each ultimately rely on this ocean upwelling for survival.

Protecting the regional coastal economy based on clean ocean waters and on our lush marine foodweb has previously resulted in the designation of the present Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries.

In December of 2012, the Obama Administration announced an important expansion of these existing National Marine Sanctuaries by extending their collective northern boundary northward from Bodega Bay to Pt. Arena. This long-sought protection has been previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and remained in play during the 2012 session of the U.S. Senate. Pursued for many years by affected local elected officials and our Representatives and Senators in Congress, this is an outcome that will permanently prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling and establish rules for sewage dumping from cruise ships on the entire Sonoma Coast and on the Southern Mendocino Coast.

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1981, and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1989, both contribute greatly to ocean and coastal management by engaging in public outreach and education to promote stewardship, conducting scientific and applied research initiatives, and developing and supporting programs that strengthen resource protection for the long-term health of the region. Your participation in extending this protection to key new coastal waters is vital at this time.

For more information, visit SanctuaryExpansion.org