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Picture of Sonoma County coastline

Proposed Cordell Bank & Gulf of the Farallones Expansion

NOAA is proposing to expand the boundaries of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) to an area north and west of their current boundaries, as well as to amend existing sanctuary regulations and add new regulations. NOAA is also proposing to revise the corresponding sanctuary terms of designation and management plans.

The purpose of this action is to extend sanctuary protections to an area that has nationally significant marine resources and habitats and is the source of nutrient-rich upwelled waters for the existing sanctuaries. NOAA solicited public comment from Apr 14 - Jun 30, 2014 on the draft proposed rule (PDF, 450KB), Draft Environmental Impact Statement (PDF, 15MB), and revised CBNMS (PDF, 2MB) and GFNMS (PDF, 2MB) management plans. NOAA is now revising all documents as necessary based on public comment.

Public Comment Period closed Jun 30, 2014

The public comment period was open from Apr 14 - Jun 30, 2014. There were three ways to provide public comment:

1. Attend a Public Hearing (see dates below)

2. Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2012-0228external link, click on the appropriate “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. If you have comments on more than one of the documents, you can record them by individual document (preferred) or as a combined comment on any of the four documents. All comments will be considered.

3. Mail: Maria Brown, Sanctuary Superintendent, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. ONMS will accept anonymous comments (enter "N/A" in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

Public Hearings

May 22, 2014
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model Visitor Center, 6 pm
2100 Bridgeway Blvd., Sausalito, CA 94965

Jun 16, 2014
Point Arena City Hall, 6 pm
451 School St., Point Arena, CA 95468

Jun 17, 2014
Gualala Community Center, 6 pm
47950 Center St., Gualala, CA 95445

Jun 18, 2014
Grange Hall, 6 pm
1370 Bodega Ave., Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Map of Proposed Action

Download larger map (JPG, 1.2MB)

This map shows the regional location of the proposed expansion area, including the existing and proposed sanctuary boundaries and surrounding area. The proposed expansion area covers the offshore coastal area from Bodega Bay in Sonoma County to a point just north of Point Arena in Mendocino County. It also includes extension of CBNMS farther west offshore of Marin County and north to include Bodega Canyon. The total expansion area is 2771 square miles (sq miles) (2093 square nautical miles [sq nm]). Approximately 757 sq miles (572 sq nm) of offshore ocean waters and the submerged lands under those waters would be added to the existing CBNMS size of 528 sq miles (399 sq nm), for a total size of approximately 1286 sq miles (971 sq nm). The expanded GFNMS area would be north of the existing GFNMS and would add approximately 2014 sq miles (1521 sq nm) to the existing 1279 sq miles (966 sq nm) sanctuary, with a total size of approximately 3297 sq miles (2490 sq nm) (including the additional four sq miles of restored wetlands on the Giacomini property).

Protection of Maritime Historic and Cultural Resources

Given the existence of historically important ship and aircraft wrecks in the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries proposed expansion area, and the keen public interest in these resources, it is a priority for the sanctuaries to continue their efforts to inventory and document this maritime heritage. As part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance process for the proposed expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries West Coast Region has initiated consultation with the California's State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), as required under Section 106 Review of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This consultation process allows for a 30-day review process by SHPO and also provides the public with an opportunity to review and comment on the documentation. Download the Section 106 consultation (779 KB, PDF)

More information

Read the Press Release (PDF, 100KB)
Download Images: Pt. Arena, Geologic, Sea Ranch, Steller Sea Lions (JPG, 2-4MB)
Download Image Captions (PDF, 80KB)
Read the Informational Flyer (PDF, 200KB)

Read the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 60KB)

Read the Background


Libraries with draft documents

Coast Community Library
225 Main St.
Point Arena, CA 95468

Mendocino County Main Branch Library
105 N. Main St.
Ukiah, CA 95482

Sonoma County - Santa Rosa Central Library
211 E St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Sonoma County - Guerneville Regional Library
14107 Armstrong Woods Rd.
Guerneville, CA 95446

Sonoma County - Sebastopol Regional Library
7140 Bodega Ave
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Sonoma County - Cloverdale Regional Library
401 N. Cloverdale Blvd
Cloverdale 95425

Sonoma County- Petaluma Regional Library
100 Fairgrounds Drive
Petaluma, CA 94952

U.C. Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory Library
2099 Westside Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Marin County - Civic Center Library
3501 Civic Center Drive # 427
San Rafael, CA 94903

Marin County - Point Reyes Library
11431 State Route1
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 Librarian

San Rafael - Downtown Library
1100 E Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

San Francisco Public Library Main Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102-4733


CBNMS - Contact
GFNMS - Contact

Photo by Martin L. Nelson, VideoLab Multimedia

Last Updated on: Mon, June 30, 2014