NOAA is considering whether to expand the boundaries of Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries, pursuant to section 304(e) of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, as amended, (NMSA) (16 U.S.C. 1434(e)). Required by the NMSA, the review will include public processes outlined under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42). NOAA anticipates that the review and potential expansion of existing sanctuary boundaries will be completed within 18 to 24 months (Dec 2012 - Dec 2014). The public scoping (comment) period closed March 1, 2013. The Draft EIS is being developed and will be available for comment once it is published.
Read the informational brochure (PDF)
Read the press release (PDF)
Read the Federal Register Notice (PDF) and correction (PDF)
Review a sample Scoping Meeting Presentation (PDF)
Review the Timeline (211KB, PDF)
Download a full map of the proposed area (PDF 4.6Mb)
The map depicts the current CBNMS and GFNMS sanctuary boundaries and the expansions proposed by legislation introduced by Congresswoman Woolsey. The proposed GFNMS expansion area extends from Bodega Bay, Sonoma County to Alder Creek in Mendocino County including both state and federal waters. The proposed CBNMS expansion extends west and slightly north to protect important subsea features such as Bodega Canyon.
In 2001, NOAA received public comment during joint management plan review scoping meetings requesting that Gulf of the Farallones (GFNMS) and Cordell Bank (CBNMS) national marine sanctuaries be expanded north and west. In response, the revised management plans include strategies to facilitate a public process in the next five years to ensure that current boundaries are inclusive of the area's natural resource and ecological qualities, including the biogeographic representation of the area.
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey has introduced legislation to expand the sanctuaries every Congressional session since 2004. NOAA is considering expansion of GFNMS and CBNMS to an area north of the existing sanctuaries that extends from Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, to Alder Creek in Mendocino County, and west to the edge of the continental shelf. The proposed sanctuary expansions encompass the Point Arena upwelling center that consistently produces the most intense upwelling in all of North America. The Point Arena upwelling center is the source of nutrient rich water that flows into the sanctuaries. View an animation. Food that results from the Point Arena upwelling center supports the largest assemblage of breeding seabirds in the contiguous United States, endangered whales, and living reefs of corals and sponges that cover the rocky seafloor. The area’s maritime cultural landscape is historically significant, and is important for fishing and recreation.
In accordance with Section 304(e) of the NMSA, NOAA is now initiating a review of the boundaries for CBNMS and GFNMS to evaluate and assess a proposed expansion of the sanctuaries. In doing so, NOAA is considering extending, and as necessary amending, the regulations and management plan for GFNMS and CBNMS to this area and is specifically requesting public comment on issues that would arise in doing so. This expansion would protect the upwelling source waters of the sanctuaries as well as nationally-significant seascapes, wildlife, and shipwrecks, and would promote ecotourism and sustainable fishing practices.
There are three ways to provide public comment:
1. Attend a Public Scoping Meeting (see below)
2. Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2012-0228, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Note: this site was down for maintenance Feb 16-18, 2013
3. Mail: Maria Brown, Sanctuary Superintendent, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129
NOAA does not respond to scoping comments, rather, addresses them in the Draft EIS. NOAA does respond to comments received on the Draft EIS.
Bodega Bay, CA; 6pm
DATE: January 24, 2013
LOCATION: Bodega Bay Grange Hall
ADDRESS: 1370 Bodega Avenue, Bodega Bay, CA
Pt. Arena, CA; 6pm
DATE: February 12, 2013
LOCATION: Point Arena High School
ADDRESS: 185 Lake Street, Point Arena, CA 95468
Gualala, CA; 6pm
DATE: February 13, 2013
LOCATION: Gualala Community Center
ADDRESS: 47950 Center St., Gualala, CA
ONMS received comments to expand GFNMS and CBNMS north during Joint Management Plan Review scoping. GFNMS receives petition to expand sanctuary. GFNMS enters petition into scoping comments for Joint Management Plan Review
April 22, 2003 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Management Plan Review staff briefed Sanctuary Advisory Council on Internal Boundary Adjustment Team actions. Three meetings were held regarding boundary expansion north and west of GFNMS. Topics included: 1) reviewed areas of concern and special consideration; 2) reviewed technical changes and areas in question with the General Counsel and GIS expert; and 3) field trip to determine locations of technical boundaries and areas in question.
July 21-22, 2003 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Advisory Council makes recommendation “increased protection should be considered for potentially prospective oil and gas tracts that have historically been of interest in previous Department of Interior outer continental shelf leasing programs that lie immediately outside of present GFNMS boundaries to the North, West and Southwest of current GFNMS boundaries…”
May 4, 2004 ONMS receives letter from Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey requesting “ preparers of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Joint Management Plans to expand the scope of their research and analysis to investigate the feasibility of sanctuary expansion in the study area north of Bodega Bay.” ONMS responds that GFNMS and CBNMS are currently involved in a Joint Management Plan Review process and the expansion should be a separate process to ensure adequate attention is given to it.
Congressional Field Hearing: Congresswoman Woolsey holds first field hearing on GFNMS/CBNMS Northern Expansion bill. Over 100 people show up including the Chamber of Commerce and the recreational fishing industry to hearing in Santa Rosa, CA and speak in support of bill.
December 14, 2006 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Advisory Council discussed 2001 JMPR public scoping comments and wants to understand why the Boundary Expansion Bill was not supported by the Department of Commerce. Read the letter.
February 15, 2007 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discussion on boundary expansion bill. Congresswoman Woolsey and Boxer reintroduced bill with a new extension to the 30th parallel, just north of Point Arena. The GFNMS Advisory Council requested MBNMS Advisory Council support of the boundary expansion bill.
Tom Roth, Senior Policy Advisor for Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, meets with Zeke Grader of the Pacific Federation of Fishermen’s Association to add additional language to the bill. Tom Roth presents at the April 19, 2007 GFNMS Advisory Council meeting during public comment.
April 19, 2007 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discussion and action on sanctuary boundary expansion. Resolution: The GFNMS Advisory Council unanimously passes a resolution, authored by Richard Charter, to the National Marine Sanctuary Program in support of the sanctuary boundary expansion bill (HR 1187).
October 23, 2007 John Dunnigan, Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management testifies before the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans on H.R. 1187: Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act.
December 13, 2007 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses boundary expansion bill hearing and NOAA’s testimony. : The GFNMS Advisory Council unanimously passes a resolution in support of HR 1187.
April 18, 2008 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses boundary expansion bill passes the House of Representatives.
May 6, 2008 NOAA testifies before the Committee on Commerce on S.2635 Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act.
July 25, 2008 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses boundary expansion bill successfully marked up in the U.S. Senate.
October 29, 2009 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses status of boundary expansion bill.
Coastwalk California hosts public meeting in Bodega Bay to reignite interest in GFNMS/CBNMS northern expansion and establishes the Marine Sanctuary Expansion Network
December 9, 2010 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses status of boundary expansion bill.
August 11, 2011 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses status of boundary expansion bill.
October 7, 2011 Surfrider Foundation sends a letter to Senator Boxer supporting S. 179: The Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Adjustment and Protection Act.
November 10, 2011 Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting: Sanctuary Advisory Council discusses status of boundary expansion and passes resolution to expand the boundaries of GFNMS and CBNMS.
Read a Letter of Support from the Ocean Conservancy (PDF)
January 15, 2013 - Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passes unanimous resolution in support of sanctuary expansion
January 24, 2013 - Public Scoping Meeting in Bodega Bay
February 12, 2013 - Public Scoping Meeting in Pt Arena
February 13, 2013 - Public Scoping Meeting in Gualala
Photo by Martin L. Nelson, VideoLab Multimedia