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Forks meeting set to review NOAA's Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary plan

A look at what NOAA is proposing as an updated plan for offshore waters of the Olympic Peninsula including the West End, and is to be the topic of discussion at a meeting set for the state Department of Natural Resources community room at 411 Tillicum Lane on Thursday, Feb. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m.
The draft of "a comprehensive draft management plan and environmental assessment for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary for public review and comment" was posted on the Web on Friday, Jan. 14 at olympiccoast.noaa.gov.
The plan, if fully implemented, would cost over $20 million spread over a five-year period, according to a table found in the draft plan.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

NOAA Source of map: olympiccoast.noaa.gov/visitor/vismap/welcome.html

Goals include increased monitoring of “wildlife disturbances” by the public, tying the plan into climate change projections, increased cleaning of debris along beaches.

Printed copies of the plan are available for viewing at the Forks Library and the Clallam Bay Library.
The federal Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1994, spans 3,310 square miles of marine waters off the Olympic Peninsula coastline. The waters include traditional fishing and whaling grounds of the Makah, Quileute, Hoh and Quinault tribes.
According to a NOAA press release the study is "based on several years of scientific assessment and public input, the plan includes recommendations for revised goals and objectives, 20 action plans, a plan for implementation based on different funding levels and recommended performance measures."
“The new draft plan is a revision to the sanctuary’s original management plan published in 1994,” said George Galasso, acting sanctuary superintendent. “It identifies actions to be undertaken by sanctuary staff within the next five to10 years to protect and conserve marine resources in the Olympic Coast.
"The draft plan includes action plans to address six priority topics: fulfill treaty trust responsibility; achieve collaborative and coordinated management; conduct collaborative research, assessments and monitoring to support ecosystem-based management; improve ocean literacy; conserve natural resources; and understand the sanctuary’s cultural, historical and socioeconomic significance. Some minor regulatory clarifications are also included in the revision.
The Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary is one of 13 national marine sanctuaries.
NOAA is also proposing regulations that would end the discharge of of waste water from cruise ships sailing within the sanctuary.
Public comments on the plan must be received by March 25. Written comments by mail go to: George Galasso, Acting Superintendent, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, 115 East Railroad Avenue, Suite 301, Port Angeles, WA 98362; faxes can be sent to (360) 457-8496.
An online form can also be filled out at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Under document type, select “Proposed Rule,” under Keyword or ID, type in 0648-BA20.

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