Ocean Community Urges Administration to Designate Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Silver Spring, Md. – October 14, 2021 – Ocean conservation groups, environmental justice groups, aquariums and community partners sent a letter to the secretaries of the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior and the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality urging the administration to immediately initiate the designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California. 

The proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, in a nomination led by members of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, 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 letter, the groups write, “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 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. It would also mark a milestone toward the Biden Administration’s 30 x 30 goal conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, as outlined in the America the Beautiful initiative.

Read the full letter here.



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 marinesanctuary.org. 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications