[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 247 (Monday, December 27, 2010)]
[Pages 81233-81235]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-32368]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Nomination of Existing Marine Protected Areas to the National 
System of Marine Protected Areas

AGENCY: NOAA, Department of Commerce (DOC).

ACTION: Public notice and opportunity for comment on the list of 
nominations received from state and territorial marine protected area 
programs to join the National System of Marine Protected Areas.


SUMMARY: NOAA and the Department of the Interior (DOI) invited federal, 
state, commonwealth, and territorial marine protected area (MPA) 
programs with potentially eligible existing MPAs to nominate their 
sites to the National System of MPAs (national system). The national 
system and the nomination process are described in the Framework for 
the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States 
(Framework), developed in response to Executive Order 13158 on Marine 
Protected Areas. The final Framework was published on November 19, 
2008, (73 FR 69608) and provides guidance for collaborative efforts 
among federal, state, commonwealth, territorial, tribal and local 
governments and stakeholders to develop an effective and well 
coordinated national system of MPAs that includes existing MPAs meeting 
national system criteria as well as new sites that may be established 

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managing agencies to fill key conservation gaps in important ocean 

DATES: Comments on the nominations to the national system of MPAs are 
due February 10, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent to Lauren Wenzel, National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Protected Areas Center, 
1305 East West Highway, N/ORM, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Fax: (301) 713-
3110. E-mail: [email protected]. Comments will be accepted in 
written form by mail, e-mail, or fax.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Wenzel, NOAA, at 301-713-3100, 
ext. 136 or via e-mail at [email protected]. An electronic copy of 
the list of nominated MPAs is available for download at http://www.mpa.gov.


Background on National System

    The national system of MPAs includes member MPA sites, networks and 
systems established and managed by federal, state, tribal and/or local 
governments that collectively enhance conservation of the nation's 
natural and cultural marine heritage and represent its diverse 
ecosystems and resources. Although participating sites continue to be 
managed independently, national system MPAs also work together at the 
regional and national levels to achieve common objectives for 
conserving the nation's important natural and cultural resources, with 
emphasis on achieving the priority conservation objectives of the 
Framework. Executive Order 13158 defines an MPA as: ``any area of the 
marine environment that has been reserved by Federal, State, 
territorial, tribal, or local laws or regulations to provide lasting 
protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources 
therein.'' As such, MPAs in the national system include sites with a 
wide range of protections, including multiple use areas that manage a 
broad spectrum of activities and no-take reserves where all extractive 
uses are prohibited. Although sites in the national system may include 
both terrestrial and marine components, the term MPA as defined in the 
Framework refers only to the marine portion of a site (below the mean 
high tide mark).
    Benefits of joining the national system of MPAs, which are expected 
to increase over time as the system matures, include a facilitated 
means to work with other MPAs in the region, and nationally on issues 
of common conservation concern; fostering greater public and 
international recognition of MPAs, MPA programs, and the resources they 
protect; priority in the receipt of available training and technical 
support, MPA partnership grants with the National Fish and Wildlife 
Foundation, cooperative project participation, and other support for 
cross-cutting needs; and the opportunity to influence federal and 
regional ocean conservation and management initiatives (such as 
integrated ocean observing systems, systematic monitoring and 
evaluation, targeted outreach to key user groups, and helping to 
identify and address MPA research needs). In addition, the national 
system provides a forum for coordinated regional planning about place-
based conservation priorities that does not otherwise exist.
    Joining the national system does not restrict or require changes 
affecting the designation process for new MPAs or management and 
modification of existing MPAs. It does not bring state, territorial or 
local sites under federal authority. It does not establish new 
regulatory authority or interfere with the exercise of existing agency 
authorities. The national system is a mechanism to foster greater 
collaboration among participating MPA sites and programs to enhance 
stewardship in the marine waters of the United States.

Nomination Process

    The Framework describes two major focal areas for building the 
national system of MPAs--a nomination process to allow existing MPAs 
that meet the entry criteria to become part of the system and a 
collaborative regional gap analysis process to identify areas of 
significance for natural or cultural resources that may merit 
additional protection through existing federal, state, commonwealth, 
territorial, tribal or local MPA authorities. This notice is for the 
fourth round of nominations to the national system. There are currently 
254 federal, state and territorial MPAs within the national system.
    There are four entry criteria for existing MPAs to join the 
national system, including one that applies only to cultural heritage. 
Sites that meet all pertinent criteria are eligible for the national 
    1. Meets the definition of an MPA as defined in the Framework.
    2. Has a management plan (can be site-specific or part of a broader 
programmatic management plan; must have goals and objectives and call 
for monitoring or evaluation of those goals and objectives).
    3. Contributes to at least one priority conservation objective as 
listed in the Framework.
    4. Cultural heritage MPAs must also conform to criteria for the 
National Register for Historic Places.
    The MPA Center used existing information contained in the MPA 
Inventory to determine which MPAs meet the first and second criteria. 
The inventory is online at http://www.mpa.gov/helpful_resources/inventory.html, and potentially eligible sites are posted online at 
    As part of the nomination process, the managing entity for each 
potentially eligible site is asked to provide information on the third 
and fourth criteria.

List of MPAs Nominated to the National System

    The following 38 MPAs have been nominated by state and territorial 
resource agencies to join the national system of MPAs. A list providing 
more detail for each site is available at http://www.mpa.gov.

American Samoa

Alofau Village Marine Protected Area.
Amaua and Auto Village Marine Protected Area.
Fagamalo Village Marine Protected Area.
Masausi Village Marine Protected Area.
Matuu and Faganeanea Village Marine Protected Area.
Poloa Village Marine Protected Area.
Vatia Village Marine Protected Area.


Point Arena State Marine Reserve.
Point Arena State Marine Conservation Area.
Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area.
Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area.
Del Mar Landing State Marine Reserve.
Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve.
Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area.
Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve.
Russian River State Marine Recreational Management Area.
Russian River State Marine Conservation Area.
Bodega Head State Marine Reserve.
Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area.
Estero Americano State Marine Recreational Management Area.
Estero de San Antonio State Marine Recreational Management Area.
Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area.
Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve.
Point Reyes State Marine Reserve.

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Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area.
Duxbury State Marine Conservation Area.
Southeast Farallon Island State Marine Reserve.
Southeast Farallon Island State Marine Conservation Area.
Montara State Marine Reserve.
Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area.
Point Reyes Special Closure.

Review and Approval

    Following this public comment period, the MPA Center will forward 
public comments to the relevant managing entity or entities, which will 
reaffirm or withdraw (in writing to the MPA Center) the nomination. 
After final MPA Center review, mutually agreed upon MPAs will be 
accepted into the national system and the List of National System MPAs 
will be posted at http://www.mpa.gov.

    Dated: December 17, 2010.
Juliana P. Blackwell,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, Ocean Services and Coastal Zone 
[FR Doc. 2010-32368 Filed 12-23-10; 8:45 am]