We, the undersigned California Central Coast businesses, are in strong support of the swift designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary (CHNMS).
We believe that protection of our Central Coast ocean is essential to community health and well-being, including for our local economy. The Chumash Sanctuary should span over 7,500 square miles of ocean and 156 miles of coastline (the Initial Boundary Alternative and Gaviota Coast Extension), which will be beneficial for both the environment and business.
As Central Coast business owners, we deeply value the coastline and ocean for all they contribute to our area. The unsurpassed natural beauty of the Central Coast and its abundant and diverse marine life sets our region apart and contributes to our community’s quality of life.
The ocean also draws visitors from around the globe, making tourism the number one industry in our counties. The proposed sanctuary would generate an estimated minimum of $23 million in revenue annually and at least 600 new jobs1. The designation would also provide enhanced opportunities for promotion and marketing. It would send a signal to the world that our region is special and worth visiting with associated benefits to local restaurants, hotels, stores, campsites, and other businesses.
The Chumash Sanctuary is a necessary protection from offshore oil, climate change, and more. We ask for community programs that collaboratively incorporate local businesses to help ensure our waters are clean and our businesses can thrive. The CHNMS Initial Boundary Alternative provides contiguous protection that would help safeguard our vulnerable waters from toxic discharge, seismic testing and offshore oil drilling, while ensuring that Offshore Wind infrastructure development is planned and sited to minimize impacts, along with robust ongoing monitoring and research.
The CHNMS is an exceptional opportunity to advance the first Tribally-nominated national marine sanctuary designation. It should elevate Indigenous perspectives, cultural values in ocean conservation, and Indigenous collaborative management that includes all Central Coast Tribes. Indigenous inclusion in CHNMS leadership will benefit our Central Coast Community as a whole.
We urge NOAA to designate the proposed CHNMS with the largest possible boundary and adopt a management plan and programs to address the impacts of climate change, prohibit oil drilling and exploration, promote marine research and education, and partner with the business community to improve Central Coast conservation.
Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to contribute our thoughts on this important process.
The undersigned Central Coast Businesses,
and supportive businesses from near and far,