Management Plan Revision

people meeting

NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is revising the management plan for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The present plan was issued in 2010.

Over the last decade, the sanctuary's natural and cultural resources and environmental conditions have changed, creating new challenges for protecting resources and facilitating compatible use. At the same time, new tools for effective management have emerged, driven by scientific advances, technological innovation, and new partnerships. An evaluation of requirements and approaches, both current and future, ensure that we and our partners are making the most effective use of programmatic resources.

Public engagement is central to NOAA's community-based approach to managing sanctuaries. NOAA solicits public input at multiple stages throughout the revision process.

Current status

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has released a draft management plan and environmental assessment for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary prepared by staff with input from the Sanctuary Advisory Council. The public is now welcome to comment on the draft document through January 21, 2022. These comments will be considered by NOAA in the preparation of the final management plan. See the How to Comment section below.

Draft Management Plan

The draft management plan revises the 2010 management plan for the sanctuary and includes 15 action plans to a) streamline and focus sanctuary management actions, b) better align with the goals and objectives in the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ Strategic Plan, and c) address emerging issues, like climate change. It also includes an environmental assessment evaluating the potential environmental consequences of implementing a revised sanctuary management plan for the sanctuary and conducting field activities to manage the sanctuary over the next 10 years.

The draft management plan supports the sanctuary’s goal of managing a productive marine area that protects nature’s diversity and bounty with a dedicated program of innovative research, respects sustainable human activities, and advances ocean stewardship among diverse communities. There are no regulatory or boundary changes proposed in this draft plan.

Action Plans

The draft management plan contains the following 15 draft action plans.

How to comment

Members of the public may submit comments during the public comment period that ends on January 21, 2022 by any of the following methods:

Electronic Submission

Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to and enter the docket number NOAA–NOS–2020-0003, click the "Comment" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach comments.


NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Attn: Management Plan Revision
175 Edward Foster Road
Scituate, MA 02066

Oral Comments

Present oral comments at the virtual public comment meetings:


Send comments in the body of an email or attached as a pdf or Word document to

Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NOAA will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields on if you wish to remain anonymous).

How to get involved and stay informed

Keep up to date on the management plan revision process, ask questions, and receive notifications when there are opportunities for public comment by requesting to be on the project's email list. Send a note to

For more information please see our FAQ page.

You may also attend public meetings of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, at which the management plan revision process will be a regular topic of discussion throughout the revision process. Request to be notified about advisory council meetings by emailing

Reports and Documents

Additional and Archived Documents

Management plan review process


Public scoping period and scoping meetings
February 13, 2020 - April 10, 2020


Public comment


Public Scoping
Sanctuary Advisory Council input

Advisory Council Graphic

Council Input


Develop draft management plan and environmental review documents
Sanctuary Advisory Council input

Advisory Council Graphic

Council Input


Release draft management plan and environmental assessment


Current Step

Public review and comment on draft documents
November 30, 2021 – January 21, 2022


Public comment


Prepare final management plan and environmental assessment


Publish final management plan and environmental assessment