White House proposes new marine sanctuary off California coast

Aug 25, 2023

On August 24, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a proposal to designate a 5,617-square-mile area offshore of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties in central California as Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. The announcement follows a long advocacy campaign by the Northern Chumash people, who have been protecting and caring for California’s Central Coast since before the United States became a country.

The proposed sanctuary would benefit marine life, the environment, the local economy, and the Chumash people. The proposed boundary for the sanctuary would stretch along 134 miles of coastline from Hazard Canyon Reef, south of Morro Bay, to an area just south of Dos Pueblos Canyon. This proposed designation is the first Indigenous-led nomination for a national marine sanctuary. A detailed description of the proposed sanctuary, as well as additional information about opportunities to provide public comment, can be found on the website for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

To see part of the area that would be protected and hear from a Northern Chumash tribal member about why the designation is urgently needed, watch the Center for Western Priorities’ short documentary about the proposed sanctuary.

Breaking New Mexico out of the boom and bust cycle

Booming oil production in New Mexico is likely to provide the state with a multibillion-dollar budget surplus for the upcoming year. The state saw a similar windfall last year. But just a few years ago, the state faced a budget shortfall due to low gas prices during the coronavirus pandemic. A new report from Resources for the Future looks at how the federal government can support local efforts to increase economic diversification. It finds that federal intervention will need to be flexible in order to accommodate differing views of issues like renewable energy and carbon capture and that existing federal grants may be too onerous for small local governments to access.

Quick hits

How could federal oil and gas reforms impact Carlsbad Caverns National Park?

Carlsbad Current Argus

NOAA proposes long-awaited marine sanctuary off California coast

NPR | E&E News | San Luis Obispo Tribune

Bill would require the BLM to manage Grand Staircase by Trump’s rules

Salt Lake Tribune

Could sand be the next lithium?

Washington Post

A new generation preserves Tribal land and culture in America’s national parks

Apple News

Water conservation model for the Rio Grande could be a template for rest of US

Source NM

The full story of the Wyoming corner crossers—and what it says about the history of the West


Teaching the full story of public lands


Quote of the day

“If we are not telling a story about public lands where people feel seen, where people’s experiences are validated, and where we’re being authentic—and just acknowledging some of the atrocious things that happened with regards to how land has been conserved in this country—then people are going to continue to feel alienated by the conservation movement.”

—Liz Vogel, education and youth engagement director at The Wilderness Society, Grist

Picture This

waterfall in yosemite


How many waterfalls do you think are in Yellowstone? While we don’t know the exact number, we estimate about 290!

Which one is your favorite?

Photos: (1) Gibbon Falls; (2) Osprey Falls; (3) Moose Falls; (4) Tower Fall