November 20, 2008
NOAA will conduct five public meetings in December to gather comments from individuals, organizations and government agencies on key issues relating to the management of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
At the meetings, which will be held Dec. 1-6, sanctuary staff will solicit public comment as part of the initial phase of the sanctuary’s management plan review process. The goal of the meetings is to gather input on the sanctuary’s original management plan, its current regulations and future management issues that may be relevant to the site. Comments will also be solicited on the need for, and potential scope of, an environmental impact statement for the sanctuary.
The original management plan for the Monitor sanctuary was prepared in 1983. According to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries must review the existing plan to evaluate progress made in implementing sanctuary goals and revise the plan and sanctuary regulations as necessary.
The management plan revision may involve changes to existing policies and regulations and take into account the current state of the sanctuary’s archaeological and natural resources, the challenges and issues facing the sanctuary, and the best ways to preserve and protect its resources for future generations.
The review process consists of four stages: information collection and characterization; preparation and release of the draft management plan, environmental assessment and any proposed amendments to the regulations; public review and comment; and preparation and release of the final management plan, environmental assessment and final amendments to the regulations. The process is anticipated to take approximately two to three years.
The schedule of public meetings and their locations are as follows:
For further information about the meetings or to submit comments, contact Shannon Ricles at 757-591-7328 or via e-mail at Shannon.Ricles@noaa.gov. All written inquiries and comments may also be mailed to Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606, or sent by fax to 757-591-7353.
All comments on issues related to the management of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary will be considered if received on or before Feb. 1, 2009.
A NOAA report offering an overview of the current status, management activities and accomplishments of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary since the sanctuary’s designation in 1975 is available upon request or from the sanctuary's Web site.
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, the nation’s first national marine sanctuary, is located in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 16 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The sanctuary encompasses a vertical column of water around the wreck site from the surface to the seabed, one nautical mile in diameter.NOAA works to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.