Carbajal, Feinstein Applaud NOAA Decision to Keep Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary on Nomination List
Washington, D.C., October 13, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Salud Carbajal and Senator Feinstein applauded National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on their recent decision to keep the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary on the nomination list for designation as a marine sanctuary.
“Marine sanctuaries play an essential role in protecting California’s sensitive marine and coastal areas from further oil and gas development. Designating this unique region on the Central Coast as a National Marine Sanctuary will help preserve our natural environment and cultural heritage while also helping to fight climate change.” said Rep. Carbajal. “Protecting our biologically diverse marine areas also directly benefit our state’s $1.9 trillion coastal economy, including our robust tourism and commercial fishing industries. I am thankful this five-year extension was granted, and I urge NOAA to move forward with designating this area as a sanctuary to protect it for future generations.”
“The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would protect sacred Chumash sites while helping combat climate change, said Senator Feinstein. “Permanently designating the sanctuary would protect one of the largest remaining kelp forests while preserving our cultural heritage. Kelp forests absorb twice as much carbon as forests on land, but California has already lost more than 90 percent of its kelp. I welcome this five-year extension but it’s a no-brainer that this should be made permanent as soon as possible.”
The deadline for the proposal to either move forward with designation as a national marine sanctuary or be removed from the nomination list was October 5th. In July 2020, Congressman Salud Carbajal, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Senator Kamala Harris urged the Department of Commerce to grant a five-year extension of the proposal to create the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.
NOAA recognized the broad community support for the nomination, reviewed new evidence of the historical significance of the region, and agreed to a five-year extension on the proposal on October 1st.
“In the last five years, climate change has been biting down hard,” said Andrew Christie, director of the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia Chapter. “The collapse of these coastal resources would be devastating. We commend NOAA for its decision and look forward to the day when this sanctuary will expand efforts to understand climate impacts in this area and incubate strategies for building resilience in our backyard and world-wide.”
“Since 2015, impacts of climate change on our local oceanographic and atmospheric features remain unknown and present significant and necessary research opportunities,” said Carol Georgi, Ocean Protection Program Coordinator for the San Luis Obispo Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, “including the complexity of the persistent upwelling through the Arguello Canyon, the lush environment of Rodriguez Seamount, the Santa Lucia Bank upthrust block, and Point Conception, the border between two oceanographic provinces and meteorological zones. The proposed sanctuary area is within this transition zone.”
Fred Collins, Chair of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, said the re-nomination decision represented a victory for “thrivability -- all things connected, all things dreaming together for the abundant life of Grandmother Ocean -- for fishermen and fisherwomen, tourists, and all that dwell on the shining, magical, mysterious, majestic coast line of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.”
Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County.