Public to weigh in on future plans for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Article published Sep 24, 2008

Peninsula Daily News

Spill prevention, ocean debris and other topics will be discussed during next week’s public scoping meetings on updating the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary management plan.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking comments from individuals, organizations and government agencies on future management priorities for the sanctuary. The public comment period will close on Nov. 14.

North Olympic Peninsula scoping meetings will be in Port Angeles, Neah Bay and LaPush.

Scheduled meetings are:

  • Monday — Longhouse at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday — Makah Marina Conference Center, Bayview Avenue, Neah Bay, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 1 — A-Ka-Lat Center, La Push Road, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Four more meetings are planned elsewhere in the state. They are:

  • Oct. 2 — Ocean Shores Convention Center, 120 W. Chance a La Mer NW, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 3 — Westport Maritime Museum, 2201 Westhaven Drive, Westport, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Oct. 4 — Washington Room at the Governor Hotel, 621 S. Capitol Way, Olympia, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — Seattle Aquarium, Pier 59, 1483 Alaskan Way, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    Comments will be taken at the scoping meetings, as well as by e-mail, mail and fax.Suggested topics
    NOAA — in consultation with the Intergovernmental Policy Council, which includes the Makah, Quileute, Hoh and Quinault tribes as well as state agencies — has prepared a list of preliminary priority topics.

    The public can comment on these topics, or bring up others.

  • Spill prevention, contingency planning and response — “The risk from vessel traffic and other hazards remains a significant threat to marine resources,” NOAA said in a written statement.

    “The potential for a catastrophic oil spill remains a primary concern, and while advances in maritime safety have been made since the sanctuary was designated, better coordination is needed for response to these threats.”

  • Marine debris — “Coastal marine debris is a persistent and poorly diagnosed problem within the sanctuary that negatively impacts natural and socioeconomic resources and qualities,” NOAA said.
  • Improved partnerships — Recent initiatives for regional ocean management, including the formation of the Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council, the Washington Ocean Action Plan and the West Coast Governors Agreement on Ocean Health, provide for more opportunities to strengthen partnerships with the four coastal treaty tribes and state agencies.

    The goal is to provide a more cooperative and coordinated management of marine resources within tribal, state and federal jurisdictions.

  • Characterization and monitoring — This topic addresses a need to develop an understanding of baseline conditions of marine resources within the sanctuary, ecosystem functions, and the status and trends of biological and socioeconomic resources.
  • Climate change — How will climate change affect the sanctuary? “Increased coordination and cooperation between resource management agencies are required to improve planning, monitoring and adaptive management to address this phenomenon,” NOAA said.
  • Ocean literacy — “Enhancing the public’s awareness and appreciation of marine, socio-economic, and cultural resources is a cornerstone of the sanctuary’s mission,” NOAA said.

    In addition to making comments at the scoping meeting, people also can send written comments by e-mail, mail or fax.

    E-mail comments to ocnmsmanagementplan@noaa.gov.

    Mail comments to Management Plan Review Team, NOAA OCNMS; 115 E. Railroad Ave., Suite 301; Port Angeles, WA 98362-2925. Fax comments to 360-457-8496.

    For more information, phone 360-457-6622, Ext. 28, e-mail ocnmsmanagementplan@noaa.gov., or check the Navigating the Future Web site at http:/olympiccoast.noaa.gov/protection/mpr/welcome.html.


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