Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
|Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary|
Lichen encrusted rocks adorn the cliffs of Santa Cruz Island
|Area||1,470 sq mi (3,800 km2)|
|Governing body||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is a reserve area off the Pacific coast of the United States, near California.
Established in 1980, the sanctuary in the Santa Barbara Channel is an area of national significance because of its exceptional natural beauty and resources. It has an area of 1,470 square miles (3,800 km2). It encompasses the waters that surround Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara Islands (five of the eight Channel Islands of California), extending from mean high tide to 6 nautical miles (11 km) offshore around each of the five islands. The sanctuary's primary goal is the protection of the natural and cultural resources contained within its boundaries. In addition to the federal restrictions placed on the sanctuary, 10% of the NMS has been declared a "no-take" marine reserve by the State of California.
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is home to several different species which fall under 4 levels of concern.
- Endangered (most severe)
- Candidates/Of Concern
- Delisted (least severe)
Endangered Species within Sanctuary
The species listed below are categorized by Federal and California state government as Endangered:
- White Abalone
- Tidewater goby
- Blue Whale
- Humpback Whale
- Fin Whale
- Sei Whale
- Southern Sea Otter
- California Brown Pelican
- Snowy Plover
- California Least Tern
Threatened Species within Sanctuary
The species listed below are categorized by Federal and California state government as Threatened:
Candidates/Of Concern Species within Sanctuary
The species listed below are categorized by Federal and California state government as Candidates/Of Concern
- Copper Rockfish
- Brown Rockfish
- Ashy Storm Petrel
Delisted Species within Sanctuary
The species listed below are categorized by Federal and California state government as Delisted
Threats to the Sanctuary
The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary has like most marine sanctuaries experienced trouble with plastic bags. While it would be possible to try and remedy the problem by progressively cleaning the area around the sanctuary, it was deemed that cleaning was not enough and preventative measures had to be taken. Therefore, on July 22, 2011, The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council unanimously voted in favor of banning plastic bags. The Advisory council voted in favor of the ban due to plastic bags already being a maritime hazard along with directly threatening the lives of the animals/plants that surround the sanctuary. It was also taken into consideration that plastic bags aren't biodegradable along with the fact that alternative forms of bags are easily available to the general public. Another threat that has been overcome by the sanctuary is noise pollution from several different sources. The United States Navy has gotten in trouble for noise pollution due to their use of active sonar instead of using their passive sonar. According to the navy, the active sonar is necessary in order to protect the west coast of the United States from enemy submarines. However, due to an ordinance on noise pollution by the Sanctuary's Advisory Council, the navy installed a $21million sonar facility on San Clemente Island to reduce the impact that active sonar would have on the marine sanctuary. The US Navy isn't the only contributor of noise pollution to the marine sanctuary. Regular civilian vessels are allowed in many parts of the sanctuary which causes noise pollution due to the cavitation from the vessels propellers and noise pollution from the vessels engines. The Sanctuary's Advisory Council found a way to minimize the noise impact of these vessels by requiring most of the vessels in the area to be permitted. This helped curb the impact of the noise pollution. Ironically, this actually helped remedy another issue the sanctuary was having with the vessels in the area. Before the restrictions when vessels were for the most part allowed to go wherever they wanted, there would be many instances of a vessel hitting a whale or other type of sea life, which would at least severely injure the animal if not kill it. By limiting the number of vessels that can visit and be in a certain area at a time, the Sanctuary's Advisory Council inadvertently solved two problems with one rule.
- "About the Sanctuary". Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary website. NOAA. July 14, 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2011.