The sanctuary provides habitat for 34 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fish, 4 of turtles,
31 phyla of invertebrates, and more than 450 species of marine algae.
Historical sites include 1,276 reported shipwrecks and 718 prehistoric sites.
The MBNMS has major programs for research and monitoring, and another for education and outreach
The Sanctuary Advisory Council's twenty voting members represent a variety of local user groups, as well as the general public, plus seven local and state governmental jurisdictions. In addition, the respective managers for the four California National Marine Sanctuaries (Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary), the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and the United States Coast Guard sit as non-voting members. Members are appointed competitively by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and serve three-year terms. The Advisory Council meets bi-monthly in open sessions located throughout the almost 300-mile boundary of the Sanctuary.
Working groups of the Council: Research Activities Panel, Sanctuary Education Panel, Conservation Working Group, Business & Tourism Activities Panel
B-WET (Bay Watershed Education and Training Program): a grant program to provide funding and support for environmental education for students, teachers, and communities throughout the Monterey Bay watershed.
Related protected areas
Areas with overlapping jurisdiction include (roughly from north to south):
See the MBNMS event calendar for a list of meetings, as well as volunteer events such as Snapshot Day, Urban Watch, First Flush (water quality monitoring programs), and TeamOCEAN (kayaker naturalist program).
The Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) website was launched in 2003 to collect metadata for their various monitoring projects. In 2012, this information was released as an iOS application to allow visitors better access to the over 4,200 photos that have been collected.
In 1988 congress re-authorized the Sanctuaries Act and proposed a sanctuary in Monterey Bay. However, public hearings, with the memory of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, brought protests demanding a larger size. The first Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released in 1990, and a final management plan in June 1992 proposing the extended area. On September 20, 1992 the MBNMS was authorized by legislation proposed by congressman Leon Panetta. It was the largest federal marine sanctuary.
There have been five Superintendents of the MBNMS since its inception:
Terry Jackson (1992 to 1997): Jackson was a NOAA Corps officer that was assigned to the MBNMS as its first manager in 1992. As a NOAA Corps officer, Jackson's land-based assignment ended in 1997. Over the next year, Jackson hired the first MBNMS staffers. Jackson retired from the NOAA Corps in 1998.
Carol Fairfield (June and July, 1997): A call for Superintendent applicants went out in the spring of 1997. However, that process was ended by the National Marine Sanctuaries Chief, Stephanie Thornton, because she "did not believe any of the current applicants had the skills she was looking for to be the MBNMS Superintendent." The call for applicants was re-advertised, and Carol Fairfield (with the NOAA's NMFS Protected Resources Program) was selected. Fairfield was selected in June and spent her first month at the Sanctuary Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Fairfield was reassigned on July 28, 1997, and Thornton said "Fairfield¹s reassignment is a personnel matter which cannot be discussed in detail."
Joanne Flanders (1997): At the time of Jackson's departure, Joanne Flanders (another NOAA Corps Officer) was Assistant Superintendent. Flanders was appointed Acting Superintendent for about six months.
William J. Douros (1998 to 2006): In January 1998 William J. Douros, who had previously worked for Santa Barbara County became superintendent.
Paul Michel (2007 to Present): In 2006 Douros was promoted to West Coast regional director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Paul Michel, who had worked at the Environmental Protection Agency since 1987, became superintendent.
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