SANTA BARBARA — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has decided to keep the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary on the nomination list for designation as a marine sanctuary for five more years, a decision lauded by Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and Sen. Diane Feinstein.
The deadline to either move forward with its designation as a sanctuary or remove it from the nomination list was Oct. 5, according to a press release.
Rep. Carbajal remarked that designating this region a National Marine Sanctuary will help preserve the Central Coast’s natural environment and cultural heritage, as well as help fight climate change.
He added, “Protecting our biologically diverse marine areas will also benefit our state’s $1.9 trillion coastal economy, including our robust tourism and commercial fishing industries. I am grateful this five-year extension was granted, and I urge the NOAA to move forward with designating this area as a sanctuary to protect it for future generations.”
Sen. Feinstein called extending the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary’s nomination an additional five years a “no brainer” and said permanently designating it a sanctuary would help preserve one of the largest remaining kelp forests.
“Kelp forests absorb twice as much carbon as forests on land, but California has already lost more than 90 percent of its kelp,” she stated.
— Josh Grega