Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comments Invited on Sites Nominated to National System of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

The National Marine Protected Areas Center has received the first round of nominations for existing MPAs to join the national system of MPAs, based on a call for nominations from November 2008 through February 2009. The group of 225 sites includes all 13 National Marine Sanctuaries, four National Estuarine Research Reserves, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, ten National Parks, 99 National Wildlife Refuges, and 101 sites managed by nine coastal state and territorial governments. Territorial and state governments nominating sites to the national system included American Samoa, California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington.

The list of nominated sites is open for public comment until April 6, 2009.Following a review of public comments, the final nominations will be formally accepted as charter members of the national system. The Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States of America describes how the national system will be built from existing MPAs across all levels of government to enhance collective efforts to protect the nation's natural and cultural marine heritage.

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