Designate the Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Located along the Central California coastline, the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary is a culturally and biologically diverse seascape. These waters are an essential part of the heritage of the Chumash, one of the few ocean-going bands among the First People of the Pacific Coast. The area provides a very special sense of place to coastal communities and international visitors because of the significant historic, archaeological, cultural, aesthetic and biological resources found here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the Administration is advancing the public process to designate the sanctuary, whose nomination is led by the Northern Chumash Tribal Council.

Sign our letter to the Biden-Harris Administration to designate the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

The Central Coast of California encompasses some of the most biologically diverse and ecologically productive regions in the world. The proposed sanctuary contains a key transition zone that includes vital upwelling supporting kelp forests, wetlands, estuaries and rookeries. Onshore, the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes are the largest remaining dune system south of San Francisco and the second largest in California. These diverse habitats are crucial for vulnerable species such as the endangered western snowy plover and the threatened southern sea otter and are also designated critical habitat for several species including the Chinook salmon and the leatherback sea turtle. Sustaining these vulnerable populations requires maintaining ecosystem diversity through protection of this wide variety of representative and unique habitats.

In addition to these submerged Chumash historic and cultural resources, there are also over 40 known historic shipwrecks in the region. The area encompassed by the proposed sanctuary contains Honda Point – site of the Navy’s worst peacetime loss of ships, as well as the gold-laden steamship S.S. Yankee Blade. Sanctuary designation would preserve these wrecks in perpetuity, allowing for study and interpretation of these historically, culturally, and archaeologically distinctive national treasures.

Urge the Administration to designate the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary so this site can receive the national recognition it deserves.

Deadline to comment: Thursday, January 6

Read the Full Letter