Advisory Council Charter
Establishment and Authority
Objectives and Duties
Members, Alternates and Officers
Other Terms of this Charter
Marine Sanctuary is an area of the marine environment of special national,
and sometimes international, significance warranting protection and
management under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. As stewards of
coastal and ocean resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) protects and manages Sanctuaries through the National Marine
Sanctuary System (NMSS). The mission of the NMSS is to comprehensively
protect and manage marine areas of special significance and thereby
protect their ecological and cultural integrity for the benefit of current
and future generations. In carrying out this mission, NOAA uses
ecologically sound principles of resource conservation to develop and
implement stewardship, education and research programs that foster public
understanding, support and participation. Use of sanctuary resources
must be consistent with the primary objective of the program, which
is resource protection. The NMSS provides leadership and acts as a catalyst
to link the assets of government and non-government organizations to
focus peoples attention on the need to manage and protect marine
of the National Marine Sanctuary System are:
enhance resource protection through comprehensive and coordinated
conservation and management tailored to the specific resources that
complements existing regulatory authorities;
support, promote, and coordinate scientific research on, and monitoring
of, Sanctuary resources to improve management decision-making in the
enhance public awareness, understanding, and wise use of the
marine environment; and
facilitate, to the extent compatible with the primary objective of resource
protection, multiple uses of the Sanctuary not prohibited pursuant to
E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is one of those
special places. Designated in 1992, the Sanctuary encompasses Stellwagen
Bank and Basin, Tillies Bank and Basin, and a portion of Jeffreys Ledge.
These areas are biologically rich offshore feeding, spawning, and nursery
grounds for a wide variety of invertebrates, fish and whales. As such,
they are very important to the regional economy as fishing grounds and
whalewatching areas. Of equal consideration, they are an intrinsic source
of high bio-diversity. The Sanctuary acts to insure that this critical
habitat area is preserved and protected.
Marine Sanctuary System
Sanctuary Advisory Council Policy Statement
regards the involvement of the public and the development of a stewardship
ethic as vitally important to successfully conserve sanctuary resources.
One key way to achieve this involvement is the formation of Sanctuary
Advisory Councils are formed of members from the public to: (1) provide
advice to the Sanctuary Superintendent on the management and protection
of the sanctuary, or (2) assist the NMSS in guiding a proposed site
through the designation process.
is committed to the full support, utilization, and enhancement of Councils
at all sanctuaries. In order for Councils to achieve their full potential,
the NMSS will:
each site, provide sufficient support to allow Councils to operate
efficiently and effectively;
support and guidance from the national office to help Councils operate
efficiently and at a basic level of consistency across the system;
coordination and communication among Councils and among sanctuary
staff that work closely with Councils; and
training programs appropriate to Council officers and members, and
Sanctuary Superintendents/Managers and staff.
315 of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA or Act; U.S.C. §
1445a) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to establish Sanctuary Advisory
Councils to provide assistance to the Secretary of Commerce in the designation
and management of National Marine Sanctuaries. This authority has been
delegated to the Director of the National Marine Sanctuary System (Director).
The Director hereby establishes the Stellwagen Bank National Marine
Sanctuary Advisory Council (Council).
describes the objectives and scope of the Council's activities, description
of duties for which the Council is responsible, procedural requirements
on the appointment of Council members and Officers, requirements for
the conduct of Council members and meetings, and other requirements.
All Council activities must be conducted pursuant to this Charter.
Council, in accordance with the Act, shall provide advice and recommendations
to the Sanctuary Superintendent, regarding management of the Gerry E.
Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary ("Sanctuary").
Council shall draw on the expertise of its members and other sources
in order to provide advice.
members shall serve as liaisons between their communities and the Sanctuary,
keeping the Sanctuary staff informed of issues and concerns, as well
as performing outreach to their respective communities on the Sanctuarys
Council may serve as a forum for consultation and deliberation among
its members and as a source of consensus advice to the Sanctuary Superintendent.
Such consensus advice shall fairly represent the collective and individual
views of the Council members. In formulating such consensus advice,
the Council members shall recall that the primary objective of the Sanctuary
and the Act is resource protection.
Council shall act solely as an advisory body to the Sanctuary Superintendent.
Nothing in the NMSA or this Charter constitutes authority to perform
operational or management functions, or to represent or make decisions
on behalf of the Sanctuary, NOAA, or the Department of Commerce.
Alternates and Officers
Council shall consist of no more than six (6) governmental ex-officio
and fifteen (15) non-governmental members. The ex-officio members shall
be non-voting and shall be designated by the cooperating government
agencies so indicated. The non-governmental members shall be voting
and shall be appointed by the Director from representatives of local
user groups, conservation and other public interest organizations, scientific
and educational organizations, or members of the public interested in
the protection and multiple use management of Sanctuary resources. Membership
is to be balanced in terms of points of view represented, and advisory
functions the Council will perform.
Sanctuary Superintendent will sit on the Council as a non-voting member
and shall work with the Chair in scheduling each meeting and approving
the agenda to ensure that topics of discussion are relevant to the Sanctuary.
Council meetings may not be conducted in the absence of the Sanctuary
Superintendent or his/her designee.
are two categories of seats, governmental and non-governmental, for
which members are appointed. The following procedures shall govern the
application, nomination and appointment of Council members.
Governmental (six members). By virtue of the shared interests
of Federal and State jurisdictions in the implementation of the Sanctuarys
management, each of the following government entities shall be requested
to designate one individual to serve on the Council. (Of the numerous
responsibilities encompassed within each entity, the specific functional
area of expertise needing representation is identified in parentheses):
Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Center (federal fisheries
and protected species management); New England Regional Fishery Management
Council (federal fisheries management planning); U.S. Coast Guard (federal
marine resources and maritime enforcement); Massachusetts Office of
Coastal Zone Management (state-federal ocean management consistency);
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (state ocean fisheries management);
and, Massachusetts Division of Law Enforcement (cooperative state-federal
environmental law enforcement).
a government entity decides no longer to participate as a member of
the Council, or fails to attend three consecutive Council meetings and
is formally removed by the Director, the Sanctuary Superintendent, with
the approval of the Director, shall invite another appropriate government
entity to replace that agency on the Council.
If it is found that a governmental member of the Council has violated
one or more of the terms of this Charter, the Sanctuary Superintendent
may recommend to the Director that the appropriate agency be notified
and requested to replace the designee.
Non-governmental (fifteen members). A representative of each
of the following activities, which are integrally affected by the management
goals of the Sanctuary, shall be selected: conservation (2), education
(2), research (2), recreation (1), whale watching (1), fixed fishing
gear (1), mobile fishing gear (1), marine transportation (1), business/industry
(1). Additionally, there shall be three (3) citizen at-large representatives
whose selection is based on geographic diversity, breadth of experience
and knowledge regarding marine issues, policies and practices.
members are appointed for a term of three years, and may compete for
re-appointment. If necessary, terms of appointment may be changed to
provide for balanced (staggered) expiration dates. Should a non-governmental
seat become vacant, the vacated position shall be advertised and a replacement
appointed as specified below. The newly appointed member shall serve
for a full term beginning on the date of his/her swearing-in by the
serve at the discretion of the Director. The Sanctuary Superintendent
may recommend to the Director the removal of a non-governmental member
of the Council if that member has violated one or more terms of the
Charter or on any of the following grounds:
convicted of any felony offense;
found to have violated any of the following laws or regulations promulgated
thereunder: the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, Marine Mammal Protection
Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens
Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or any environmental law
for which NOAA has jurisdictional responsibility;
determined to have abused his or her position as a member of the SAC
(including but not limited to use of SAC information for personal
gain; use of SAC position to advance a personal agenda or harm another
member of the SAC or of the community; misrepresentation of, or spreading
misinformation about the Council or the Sanctuary; and refusal to
recuse himself or herself if so requested by the Sanctuary Superintendent
and/or Chair in a matter in which the member has a conflict of interest);
a change to the professional affiliation(s) and/or personal circumstances
that comprise a significant portion of that members qualifications
for being a member of the SAC;
three consecutive meetings (as defined by this Charter) without reasonable
on more than one occasion Council meetings in a manner that interferes
with the Council conducting its business; or
any other term of this Charter.
alternate (from the same government entity) of a governmental member
may attend a Council meeting as the agency representative on occasion,
if the Chair and Sanctuary Superintendent are notified in advance. Advance
notification must include the name, address, and position of the individual
designated. An alternate may not name another alternate.
each non-governmental seat becomes vacant and the process for selection
of a new member (described under Appointments) is conducted, the Sanctuary
Superintendent shall recommend to the Director the member and an alternate
from among the top three candidates resulting from the review process.
The alternate shall have all the rights of the member at such times
that the alternate is officially substituting for the member. The member
shall notify the Chair and the Sanctuary Superintendent before an alternate
officially attends a meeting.
Council Officer Elections and Terms
shall elect one member to serve as Chair, one member to serve as Vice-Chair,
and one member to serve as Council Secretary. The Vice-Chair shall act
as Chair in the absence of the Chair. The term of the Council Secretary
is one year. The Council Secretary may serve consecutive terms if reelected.
Terms of the Chair and Vice-Chair are two years, except that the initial
term of the Vice-Chair is one year. The Chair and Vice-Chair may serve
a maximum of two consecutive terms (four years) if reelected. A Chair
or Vice-Chair may leave his/her term to run for another Council officer
position if desired. If the Chair or Vice-Chair is elected to a new
position, the Council shall nominate and elect a new representative
for the vacated position.
for all positions is by majority vote of the voting members, and votes
shall be made by written ballot. Members who will not be present at
the time of the election may submit their vote in writing to the Sanctuary
Superintendent prior to the meeting. Following the first election, elections
for Chair and Vice-Chair shall be held in alternate years.
of Council Officers:
The Chair schedules and sets agendas for all Council meetings with the
approval of the Sanctuary Superintendent, presides over all meetings
of the full Council and ensures that meetings are run according to accepted
meeting practices, signs all correspondence and documents authorized
by the Council, and generally represents the Councils interests
and concerns to the public.
The Vice-Chair serves as Chair in the absence of the Chair and assists
as necessary in performing executive duties of the Council.
Council Secretary: The Council Secretary assists Sanctuary staff in
performing administrative duties as directed by the Chair or Vice-Chair.
notice shall be provided as to the vacancy of non-governmental constituent
group seat(s) and at-large representatives. Applications for ensuing
terms for vacant seats shall be submitted to the Sanctuary Superintendent
directly. Copies of all applications and nominations for each seat may
be submitted by the Sanctuary Superintendent to Council members for
review and screening. Any Council member that has a conflict of interest
(financial, personal, self-nomination, etc.) shall recuse him/herself
from making a selection for the vacant seat. The Sanctuary Superintendent
shall make selection from among those recommended by the Council, or
from among other applicants or nominees, with final approval by the
Director. In all cases, submission of written statements of particular
interest, qualifications, and experience shall be requested. Guidelines
for applying shall be supplied at the appropriate time.
of the Council shall serve without pay except that each member may receive
travel expenses including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance
with sections 5702 and 5703 of Title 5, U.S.C., for travel to and from
official Council meetings. No members of working groups (defined below)
may receive travel expenses for working group activities or meetings.
Travel expenses for governmental members of the Council may be provided
by their own agencies.
NMSS may make available such staff, information, administrative services,
or assistance as the Sanctuary Superintendent determines are reasonably
required to enable the Council and its subcommittees/working groups
to carry out their functions.
are held at the call of the Chair, with the approval of the Sanctuary
and recommendations made by the Council are advisory only, and shall
be made by majority vote of those eligible to vote. The Chair or the
Sanctuary Superintendent may request a recorded vote. A quorum of more
than half the non-governmental (voting) membership of the Council must
be present when any vote is taken or general consensus reached.
meeting shall be open to the public.
persons shall be permitted to present oral or written statements on
items on the agenda.
meetings may be held at the call of only the Chair, but the Sanctuary
Superintendent or his/her designee must be present for the Council to
formally conduct business at such a meeting. A quorum must also be present
for the Council to formally conduct business at such a meeting. As soon
as is practical after an emergency meeting, the Chair shall report,
in writing, to the Sanctuary Superintendent, and shall include in this
report: (1) detailed meeting minutes, (2) the nature of the emergency
being addressed by the Council, (3) any recommendations adopted by the
Council, and (4) a list of the members in attendance.
notice of each meeting, including the time, place, and general topics
to be discussed, shall be published in at least one local newspaper
of general circulation within the vicinity of the Sanctuary. Additional
notice may be given by such other means as will result in appropriate
publicity to interested groups.
Council shall meet as frequently as necessary, not to exceed once a
month, but at least once every six months.
Council meeting place shall be chosen to accommodate anticipated public
attendance and be accessible to those interested in attending.
of each meeting shall be kept and contain a summary of attendees and
matters discussed. Such minutes shall be available to the public in
the Sanctuary office.
for Providing Advice. The following procedures shall be used to
Council may provide advice and recommendations to the Sanctuary Superintendent
on any issue or problem relating to its scope of responsibility and
placed on the agenda, or in response to a particular request by the
Sanctuary Superintendent. This request may be made verbally or in writing.
Requests for information, assistance, or advice from other NOAA offices,
or other agencies shall be made in writing and must be coordinated through,
and approved by, the Sanctuary Superintendent.
Council acts under the auspices of the National Marine Sanctuary System.
Any matters that the Council would like to place on the agenda or otherwise
raise independently must be approved by the Sanctuary Superintendent
prior to doing so.
Council shall provide advice directly to the Sanctuary Superintendent
via a formal written recommendation. Draft recommendations and verbal
discussions will not be considered official advice from the Council,
but may be considered as background information.
Council may base their recommendations on a vote of the eligible Council
members with negative votes and abstentions noted, or on a general consensus
reached during discussions, with minority opinions and views noted.
information or recommendations resulting from discussions
or work groups must be presented to and approved by the full Council
prior to being submitted to the Sanctuary Superintendent.
of Individual Members
Council member may use or allow the use, for other than official purposes,
of information obtained through or in connec-tion with his or her Council
affiliation that has not been made available to the general public.
speaking to the public or writing about any matter regarding the Sanctuary
in a document for distribution beyond the Council membership, Sanctuary
Superintendent or Sanctuary staff, a member shall clearly distinguish
those recommendations, opinions, or positions officially adopted by
the Council as a body from those he or she may have as an individual.
In no case shall a member represent his or her own opinions as those
of the Council, the Sanctuary Superintendent, Sanctuary staff, or NOAA.
Council member that has an interest (financial, personal or business
interest) in any matter before the Council or a subcommittee or working
group shall identify such interest prior to discussion and voting on
such matter. No member shall cast a vote on any matter that would provide
a direct financial benefit to that member or otherwise give the appearance
of a conflict of interest under Federal law. An affected member who
may not vote on a matter may participate in Council deliberations relating
to the decision after notifying the Council of the voting recusal and
identifying the interest that would be affected
of the Council as a Body
Council shall not make recommendations, express opinions or otherwise
speak to other than the Sanctuary Superintendent unless the Council
has express permission from the Sanctuary Superintendent and states
that its opinions and findings do not necessarily reflect the position
of the Sanctuary or NOAA.
correspondence, press releases, informational releases, news articles,
or other written documents that are intended to speak for the Council
as a body must be coordinated with, and approved by, the Chair and the
Sanctuary Superintendent. The following disclaimer must be placed in
documents originating from the Council:
is solely an advisory body. The opinions and findings of this publication
do not necessarily reflect the position of the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen
Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
shall, with the assistance and approval of the Sanctuary Superintendent,
design and use its own letterhead. All correspondence from the Chair
or other members of the Council,
Council as a body, shall be on this letterhead. The Council shall not
use official NOAA letterhead for any correspondence or other purpose.
and Working Groups
The Council may establish such subcommittees as necessary to fulfill
its duties. Subcommittees shall be composed solely of members of the
Council and shall be recognized as official sub-units of the Council.
Subcommittees are subject to all requirements of this Charter.
Groups: the Council may establish Working Groups for specific purposes
or topics that need focused attention that cannot be accomplished by
a subcommittee. Working Groups may be composed of members of the Council
and/or persons outside the Council. Working Groups shall be chaired
by a member of the Council and shall function under the purview of the
Council. Working Groups established by the Council to address specific
issues shall disband once the specialized or technical assistance on
the particular matter is submitted to the Council. Working Groups may
provide their specialized or technical assistance only to the Council,
which will use the assistance in developing recommendations to the Sanctuary
Superintendent. Working Group members shall serve without pay.
Terms of this Charter
Council shall operate pursuant to the terms of this Charter.
Charter shall remain in effect for a period of three years from the
date of signature.
months prior to the expiration of this Charter, the need for the Council
will be evaluated by the NMSS, with input from Council members as appropriate,
to determine whether to renew the Charter.
to this Charter may be made as determined necessary by the NMSS with
input from the Council.
Daniel J. Basta
Marine Sanctuary System