Impact Stories Area Protections

U.S. Federal: Informing Federal MPA Designation Process

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Conservation Challenge

Local community members and elected leaders are working to advance the first Tribal-nominated national marine sanctuary along California’s central coast. The proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would facilitate environmental stewardship aligned with the cultural values of California’s Chumash Peoples and other Tribes.

An integral part of designating the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary is the public planning process, which enables the management authorities to directly receive community input on the protected area.

Understanding regulations related to marine managed areas is often complex since these areas may have multiple overlapping marine jurisdictions that are subject to different regulations and are overseen by different agencies and stakeholders.

Our Solution

Located between two federally managed marine protected areas (MPAs), Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would cover an area over 5,000 square nautical miles within waters that would contain many regulations under several jurisdictional authorities.

The ProtectedSeas team analyzed the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary to illuminate the number of managed areas within the newly proposed site. Highlights from our analysis, include:

  • Contains 41 managed areas — 8 of which are state-designated MPAs (1% of proposed area); 9 other state managed areas (over 9% of proposed area), and 24 federally managed areas (100% of proposed area).
  • Bottom trawling is currently prohibited within 3,787 sq. nautical miles = 64% of proposed area.
  • The new proposed sanctuary adds 36% additional restrictions on bottom trawling — by duration, season, net size, species, or type.

Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary ProtectedSeas Level of Fishing Protection (LFP)

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Seascape Analysis within the Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

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Impact

The inclusion of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary within the National Marine Sanctuary system’s network of underwater parks is anticipated to have wide reaching positive impacts. Sanctuary designation would help protect the area’s abundant biodiversity while fostering opportunities for scientific study, education, and economic advancement, including sustainable recreation and tourism. Additionally, this designation would support President Biden’s America the Beautiful Initiative, which is empowering community-driven conservation initiatives throughout the country, aiming to conserve and rehabilitate 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Navigator’s role is important because it offered the regulatory information necessary to help inform the designation of new, and ongoing management of marine areas, and to evaluate habitat protection. Anyone — from government officials to grassroots community groups — can access Navigator’s publicly available platform and data to understand and visualize the regulations in place designed to safeguard their locally important ocean places.

U.S. Federal: Informing Federal MPA Designation Process

Navigator’s independently reviewed, and mapped regulatory information offers a one-of-a-kind tool to help inform public planning processes such as the proposed Chumash Heritage sanctuary designation. Using the data contained in the Navigator platform, the ProtectedSeas team analyzed the relevant regulations in the proposed boundary, including bottom-trawling restrictions, to inform the federal planning process.

Learn more about the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary