[Coral-List] US Marine Sanctuaries - National Condition Report

Steve Gittings - NOAA Federal steve.gittings at noaa.gov
Thu Jun 20 13:09:59 EDT 2013

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) is pleased to announce
the release of the “National Marine Sanctuary System Condition Report
2013.” <http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/library/pdfs/ncr2013.pdf> The purpose
of the report is to inform ONMS and its partners on priority issues and
challenges facing the 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea
Marine National Monument as a system, and to discuss actions to address
them. We will use the document to engage partners, political interests and
academic organizations in both challenges and opportunities facing the
sanctuaries; promote a better understanding of the system; and solicit
support that furthers the program mission and addresses its priorities and
needs. Together with site-based reports, the National Condition Report will
help direct the course of development and support for conservation science
across the national system. Though the report is not intended to act as an
implementation plan, it does provide a synthesis of nationally-significant
information that can help inform sanctuary-level conservation science
programming, investment and decision making.

Condition reports <http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition> for each
unit of the National Marine Sanctuary System were prepared over the last
six years and discuss site-based resource status and trends, human
pressures and ways of addressing them, and accomplishments and gaps in
conservation science. They are influential in supporting management, but
also keep the public informed and engaged in conservation efforts. The
National Condition Report has similar uses, but considers these matters
across the National Marine Sanctuary System. Among the natural and
archaeological resource concerns identified in the report, a number stand
out: marine debris entanglement, trapping and ingestion, loss of
biodiversity, wildlife disturbance, and ship strikes, to name a few. Numerous
sanctuaries also report changes in key species, which warrant special
attention because of their integral role in a balanced ecosystem. Most have
documented troubling invasions by non-indigenous species that can displace
native species, disrupt ecosystems and damage fisheries. Many also present
concerns about the effects of tourism, visitation and coastal development,
which can cause intentional and unintentional impacts to sanctuary

In the face of these pressures, the National Condition Report describes how
sanctuaries are making important strides in resource protection through
progressive, science-based management, targeted resource protection
programs and engaging education and outreach activities. Developments in
conservation science continue to support management actions that mitigate
pressures on sanctuary resources despite limited budgets that prevent the
program from reaching its full potential. The report also discusses the
need for more monitoring and research, the critical role of dedicated
citizens who volunteer their time and talents, and the role of partnerships
and coordination with communities and local, state, federal, and
territorial governments in protecting special marine places.

We hope you find the National Condition Report not only a useful
information source, but also an attractive invitation to partners who can
help protect, understand, and enjoy the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Dr. Steve Gittings, Science Coordinator
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
1305 East West Hwy., N/ORM62
Silver Spring, MD  20910
(301) 713-7274 (w), (301) 529-1854 (c)

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