Act Now

Designate the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary


Subject: SIGN ON (Oct 13 deadline) | Chumash Heritage NMS Designation Push – Organization Letter to the Administration

Please sign on to our organization letter urging the Administration to immediately initiate the designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary and write to express our strong support to include this national treasure within the National Marine Sanctuary System. I have copied the letter language below.

Please join the letter and share widely. We welcome national, state, and local organizations, businesses, and community groups!  

To sign on, please directly email Shannon Colbert at shannon@marinesanctuary.org to list your organization name in this letter. The deadline to sign is COB Eastern on Wed, Oct 13.

Dear Chair Mallory, Secretary Raimondo, and Secretary Haaland:

 

We urge the Administration to immediately initiate the designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary and write to express our strong support to include this national treasure within the National Marine Sanctuary System. 

 

The proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) would protect sacred Chumash sites, feeding grounds for numerous species of whales and dolphins, sea otter populations, kelp forests, and is home to vital commercial and recreational fisheries. In the face of the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and their resulting impacts to communities, culture, traditions, and economies, national marine sanctuaries are critically important management tools to conserve marine biodiversity and safeguard the local communities and economies that depend on a healthy ocean ecosystem.

 

The proposed sanctuary protects waters that are essential to the heritage of the Chumash, one of the few ocean-going bands among the First People of the Pacific Coast. The island and marine ecosystems co-evolved with the Chumash and their culture and traditions that continue on today. The more holistic perspective on stewardship that this knowledge offers is invaluable for equitable,  effective, community-led management and collaborative conservation moving forward.  The sanctuary designation would continue to strengthen indigenous perspectives and cultural values in ocean conservation by supporting locally led and locally designed conservation efforts and providing support for Tribal nation priorities.

 

The waters off the Central Coast of California are some of the most biologically diverse and ecologically productive regions in the world. Fed by deepwater upwelling and ocean currents, the nutrient rich waters off San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara Counties create an incredibly productive feeding ground that attracts a menagerie of marine wildlife. These diverse habitats are crucial for vulnerable species and constitute critical habitat for several culturally and ecologically important species. 

 

Our national marine sanctuaries conserve areas of national significance in our oceans and Great Lakes for future generations, advance critical scientific research and citizen science, build resilience to address climate change and biodiversity loss, and support education and engagement to allow more students and children to learn about America’s rich natural and cultural history. 

 

The devastating oil spill in Orange County, CA that is spoiling beaches, killing marine wildlife,  and threatening local wetlands, demonstrates that the Administration must do more immediately to protect our ocean and coasts.  We urge the Administration to designate Chumash Heritage NMS to allow current and future generations to enjoy, appreciate, and benefit from these underwater national treasures. 

Shannon Colbert