Wednesday October 25, 2023

San Francisco Chronicle

A beautiful and ecologically rich stretch of the California coast is about to get major protection: a new national marine sanctuary that would preserve 5,617 square miles of the ocean along the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County coast.

The proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary also aims to honor the Indigenous people who have lived in the area for tens of thousands of years. President Joe Biden recently endorsed it, and if finalized it will be the first marine sanctuary nominated by Indigenous groups and the first in California in 30 years.

The sanctuary’s proposed boundaries and even its name, both sources of controversy among some tribal groups, are not yet final, and the public can still make comments on the draft proposal through Wednesday. After public review is complete, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hopes to have a final designation for the sanctuary by summer. 

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