e California Central Coast is a vast region made up of rolling hills, lush pacific terraces and rugged coastal canyons that all dramatically meet the majestic Pacific Ocean. It is a place of amazing diversity and ecosystems that are rich in marine and terrestrial wildlife. The unique geology along the coasts creates some of the most beautiful coastal vistas in the world and is a place that inspires its inhabitants to revel in its beauty and enjoy its bounty. This visceral and physical relationship to our home inspires locals to protect its uniqueness, preserve its abundance and assure that future generations can appreciate and thrive in this paradise we call home. This is “old California” pristine and reminiscent of decades past…. a California that inspires a different way of life; one that encourages residents to invest their energy and focus into protecting the coastline and oceans through careful planning and regulation of environmentally sustainable development, rigorous use of science, strong public participation, education, effective intergovernmental coordination, and the willingness to take a stand for our environment.
We, as a community, now have the opportunity to take a decisive step towards preserving our local marine environment, an environment that no matter where you live within this region is precious. It is our ethical imperative to preserve our marine resources as a legacy for our children and the generations to come. The ability to preserve this place, the home and sacred place to the Chumash and their ancestors for millennia, is within our imminent grasp…the creation of and designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary!
This sanctuary would effectively create a level of protection for our nearshore and offshore marine environments that would close the gap that now exists between the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and the Channel Island Marine Sanctuary. For decades our locals have, with varying degrees of success, been fighting corporate attempts to implement destructive projects that would negatively affect our Marine ecosystems and impact our economies. It is time that we take the necessary steps to protect our Central Coast oceans, once and for all, from projects such as seismic testing, oil exploration and development, ocean mining and destructive new technologies that could indefinitely impact our native and migratory species by adding to the already powerful impact of anthropogenic noise.
Yes, this designation would be a federal appointment, but that’s where day to day federal oversight ends. Each of the marine sanctuaries throughout the country are run by a steering committee made up of local stakeholders, and all decisions are made by this balanced entity. There could not be a more democratic and fair way to protect our oceans! Our economies would thrive, our fishermen assured of a healthy place to continue to work (and no, the sanctuary does not have the right to regulate fishing… it never has, and never will!) and most of all the rich offshore ecosystems that are so precious and abundant, will continue to be so!
Now is the time to act for our marine legacy. Now you can make a difference in a world where sometimes we struggle to positively impact our Earth and our collective futures. Be part of the process to designate the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. You can make a formal statement to NOAA in support of this milestone designation: Submit all electronic public comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov, through Jan. 31, 2022. The docket number is NOAA-NOS-2021-0080. Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
Mandy Davis, Coast Alliance