National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Applauds Establishment of Bipartisan Congressional National Marine Sanctuary Caucus

The 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act will be celebrated in 2022


Silver Spring, Md. – October 21, 2021 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation celebrated the launch of the National Marine Sanctuary Caucus, with co-chairs Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA).  

The caucus will serve as a strong voice to raise awareness of national marine sanctuaries and their critical role in conserving our ocean and preserving our nation’s cultural heritage. Its launch occurs as the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act in October 2022. The 50th anniversary’s theme, “Save Spectacular,” is a year-long celebration of our great waters, inviting all people to discover the wonders of national marine sanctuaries and work together as stewards to conserve our ocean and Great Lakes. 

Kris Sarri, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, said, “National marine sanctuaries and monuments are our essential network of protected waters owned by every American. They sustain miraculous species, coastal communities, and our shared heritage. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Representatives Huffman and Graves for their leadership on behalf of our protected waters. The launch of the National Marine Sanctuary Caucus is a strong commitment to raising awareness of sanctuaries and prioritizing sanctuary issues on behalf of communities and our nation.” 

“National Marine Sanctuaries are treasured areas that protect natural, historical, and cultural places in the oceans and Great Lakes. These spectacular underwater parks encompass a broad range of breathtaking natural features, including kelp forests, rocky and coral reefs, beaches, freshwater lakes, deep-sea canyons, islands, and more,” said Rep. Huffman. “I am honored to have not one, but two national marine sanctuaries in my district, Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank, that protect critical ocean ecosystems and conserve wildlife. I am proud to relaunch this bipartisan caucus with my colleague, Congressman Graves, to raise awareness of sanctuaries and prioritize sanctuary issues on behalf of coastal communities and our nation.”

“Productive coastal economies in Louisiana and across our country are dependent on fishing, tourism, recreation and scientific research. Just off Louisiana’s coast, the coral reefs and algal sponges of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary demonstrate how marine conservation can support these activities. This caucus expands on these conservation efforts and is a great example of how an additional educational opportunity can lead to tourists and anglers getting more opportunities to enjoy fishing in south Louisiana. The more we can engage lawmakers and constituencies on the importance of our marine habitats, we increase the likelihood future generations can enjoy Sportsman’s Paradise,” said Rep. Graves.

Caucus members recognize the value of sanctuaries as models for marine conservation worldwide—promoting ocean health, honoring heritage, bolstering local economies and jobs, supporting public access and recreation, and advancing education and community-building.  

With support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the caucus supports public policy that protects and conserves our nation’s most iconic natural and cultural marine resources for all Americans, raises congressional awareness and understanding of national marine sanctuaries; draws national attention to sanctuary issues and share their successes as models for marine conservation worldwide; and builds a coalition of champions for our national marine sanctuaries and our communities. 


The membership of the National Marine Sanctuary Caucus at launch includes: 

The Honorable Jared Huffman (Co-Chair; D-CA) 

The Honorable Garret Graves (Co-Chair; R-LA) 

The Honorable Nanette Barragan (D-CA) 

The Honorable Jack Bergman (R-MI) 

The Honorable Don Beyer (D-VA) 

The Honorable Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) 

The Honorable Anthony Brown (D-MD) 

The Honorable Julia Brownley (D-CA) 

The Honorable Salud Carbajal (D-CA) 

The Honorable Jerry Carl (R-AL) 

The Honorable Matt Cartwright (D-PA) 

The Honorable Ed Case (D-HI) 

The Honorable Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) 

The Honorable James A. Himes (D-CT) 

The Honorable Sara Jacobs (D-CA) 

The Honorable Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI) 

The Honorable Derek Kilmer (D-WA) 

The Honorable John B. Larson (D-CT) 

The Honorable Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) 

The Honorable Nancy Mace (R-SC) 

The Honorable Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) 

The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) 

The Honorable Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) 

The Honorable Chris Pappas (D-NH) 

The Honorable Maria Salazar (R-FL) 

The Honorable Adam Smith (D-WA) 

The Honorable Darren Soto (D-FL) 

The Honorable Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY) 

The Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) 

The Honorable Robert J. Wittman (R-VA) 


Visit the caucus homepage here. 

National marine sanctuaries and monuments are the essential network of protected waters owned by every American. Connected by currents, they sustain miraculous species, coastal communities, and our shared heritage. They conserve unique habitats that are home to millions of species, from magnificent humpback whales to colorful clownfish. Sanctuaries support our health and the economy.  


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications