FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Miller
President's Budget Slates $52 Million for National Marine Sanctuary System
President Bush's budget for the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration targets $52 million for the National Marine Sanctuary System, including Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, Monterey Bay and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries in California. The amount includes $13 million in new funds for the creation or upgrading of visitors' facilities called Ocean Discovery Centers at some sanctuaries.
A portion of this increase will be used by the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries to begin a coordinated review of the management plans, which describe the actions to be taken to protect and manage sanctuary resources. These sanctuaries and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will also develop extensive ecosystem monitoring, expand education activities to inform the public of the importance of sanctuary resources and their protection, and explore development of additional visitors' facilities.
"NOAA's Marine Sanctuaries in California are true treasures for the state and the whole nation to share," said Scott Gudes, acting NOAA administrator and under secretary for oceans and atmosphere. "These incredible underwater parks allow us to protect, conserve and enhance areas that might not otherwise be here for future generations."
Gudes added, "The continued investment in our marine sanctuaries will allow for upgrading the operating and technical capacity in the 13 marine sanctuaries."
The FY 2002 increase will be used to improve protection of important sanctuary resources, including coral reefs, endangered marine mammals, sensitive habitats and significant cultural resources. In coming months, NOAA plans to use vessels and aircraft to inventory natural and cultural resources at all 13 sanctuaries, and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, including activities conducted under the Sustainable Seas Expedition.
In 1972, exactly one hundred years after the first national park was created, the nation made a similar commitment to preserving its marine treasures by establishing the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Today there are 13 National Marine Sanctuaries. They encompass deep ocean gardens, near shore coral reefs, whale feeding and calving grounds, deep sea canyons and even underwater archaeological sites. Together the sanctuaries protect nearly 20,000 square miles of ocean waters and habitats. While some activities are regulated or prohibited in sanctuaries to protect resources, multiple uses consistent with resource protection (such as recreation, commercial fishing and shipping) are allowed. Research, education and outreach activities are major components in each sanctuary's program.
The President's FY 2002 budget request for NOAA is available on the Internet at http://www.noaa.gov
To learn more about the National Marine Sanctuaries program visit http://www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov