Sanctuary Advisory Council Actions

Council members may communicate with the Department of Commerce, NOS, NOAA and other agencies via letters, resolutions or motions. Below are motions and actions of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

32nd Meeting Actions - January 19, 2011

Motion passed to amend Charter to include a Youth Member and Alternate on the Advisory Council.

Motion passed to continue with the SAC Leadership Award and charge the SAC Leadership Award Subcommittee with reevaluating the criteria to ensure that the SAC has a good pool of nominations every year and bring forward recommendations at the May 2011 meeting; also determine frequency of the award.

33rd Meeting Actions - May 25, 2011

Motion passed for the Sanctuary Ecological Research Area Ad Hoc Committee to meet before the next SAC meeting to review the Draft SERA proposal before it goes forward to the New England Fisheries Council.

34th Meeting Actions - September 14, 2011

Motion passed that the Advisory Council recommends that, as soon as is feasible, NOAA submit the SERA proposal to the New England Fishery Management Council for consideration as a research area consistent with the objectives of the Fishery Management Council's Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2.  It was also recommended that, once it is under consideration, the ONMS work cooperatively within the Fishery Management Council process so that the SERA proposal is integrated, in an appropriate way, with other actions the Fishery Management Council may take to ensure economic balance for affected fishermen.

Motion passed that the Advisory Council requests that SBNMS convey to the NEFMC support for analysis that could identify alternative areas representative of the areas delineated on the draft SERA that are contiguous to the Sliver and east of the Sliver, for the purpose of establishing an ecological research area.

35th Meeting Actions - February 16, 2012

Motion passed that Advisory Council authorize the Chair to write a letter to the Superintendent reminding him that a lot of work went into the development of the SERA, that the SAC is following the advice to work with NEFMC, and as a body voted at the last SAC meeting to endorse the SERA and ask Secretary of Department of Commerce to release the report to the NEFMC. SERA Letter from SAC Chair.

36th Meeting Actions - June 7, 2012

Agreement amongst members that SAC should have its own letterhead and be provided with some examples from other SACs.  The Sanctuary Superintendent will provide examples to the Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee will provide recommendations to the SAC on their selection.  Craig MacDonald noted that it will be important to vote at the next SAC meeting to have it formally adopted as the SAC's letterhead.

John Galluzzo, Maritime Heritage Alternate, reported that the SAC Leadership Award Subcommittee has been revived.  He asked sanctuary staff and SAC members to provide the subcommittee with brief applications with the name and background of recipients for the SAC leadership award.  One more SAC member is needed to join the subcommittee to break the tie.  Deadline for applications is 30 September 2012.  The subcommittee would like to be able to announce a nominee at the next SAC meeting (fall of 2012).  SAC members are asked to join the subcommittee and to submit names and background of those volunteers.

37th Meeting Actions - October 16, 2012

The Stellwagen Bank NMS Advisory Council Charter must be renewed every 5 years.  The current SAC Charter expires in December 2012.  Amendments previously passed will be incorporated into the revised Charter as well as new seat term limits which have changed from 2 to 3 year terms.

Motion passed that SAC recommends to the New England Fisheries Council (NEFMC) Habitat Committee that the SBNMS SERA II Proposal be further considered by the NEFMC Plan Development Team as a dedicated research area with the understanding that research zones be developed that reflect the scientific objectives of Draft SERA I Proposal while making every effort to minimize impacts on the fishing industry.

Motion passed that the SAC Chair write a letter on behalf of all SAC members encouraging NOAA to take action to allow opportunities for the SEL to be reactivated by removing the cap.  SEL Correspondence.

Motion was passed that SAC adopt its own Advisory Council letterhead.  Suggestion was made to have a SAC email address created and added to the letterhead.  Anne Smrcina will seek guidance from ONMS HQ and have it added to the letterhead if cleared.  Any incoming emails to the account will go directly to the SAC Chair.

38th Meeting Actions - March 5, 2013

The Site Evaluation List (SEL) reactivation topic was discussed at the SAC meeting in October 2012, at which time the SAC agreed that, as a stakeholder of the sanctuary program, it was important to send a letter asking NOAA to reactivate the SEL.  Rich Delaney received a letter from Dan Basta, Director ONMS Program, acknowledging that he received the letter the SAC sent to him (as well as to Drs. Blank and Lubchenco) that expressed collective support for reactivating the SEL.  Dan Basta stated that he appreciates the SAC's support as he continues to pursue this important issue and will transmit the SAC's letter of support to the agency's leadership.

Motion passed to convene a subcommittee to make recommendations on ways to expand the SAC capacity for building community connections to extend the sanctuary brand.  By community connections, we mean to focus on outreach, business, tourism, recreation, travel and fishing industries. 

39th Meeting Actions - June 12, 2013

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking comments on its proposal to make permanent the rules it implemented 5 years ago to reduce the number of collisions between ships and North Atlantic right whales. The rule proposes to continue existing speed restrictions during migration periods along three regions of the U.S. East Coast (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast). These measures are implemented during the time of year when right whales occur in each area. Speed restrictions apply to vessels that are 65 feet in length or greater, except federal agency vessels. Motion passed that the Advisory Council submit a comment letter that would support the NOAA rulemaking and cite its consistency with our already approved Management Plan, the stated scientific information that has been effective in reducing mortality and the ship strike compliance.

Campaign of Engagement. As a follow-up to ONMS's Campaign of Engagement, the SAC Tourism and Business Subcommittee held its first meeting and reported its findings and suggestions. The advisory council continued to brainstorm ideas and activities that would increase the sanctuary's visibility with a wider range of constituents and to explore steps that can be taken to have a mutually more productive and beneficial relationship with sectors such as tourism, recreational industries, and fisheries. The subcommittee will consider all of these new ideas including the formation of a Tourism and Business Working Group of the SAC, and report back to the SAC at the next meeting, offering a new set of recommendations for the sanctuary staff and SAC.

Designation of SBNMS as a No Discharge Area. Most of the New England coastline has gone through the designation process, and it has been successful. Conversations highlighted the "worthiness" of SBNMS designation as a no discharge area, since it's a special and critical area. As importantly, it was emphasized that designating SBNMS as a no discharge area is one of the highest recommendations in the sanctuary's Management Plan. Therefore, the timing and SAC discussion should be on everyone's radar screen. SAC requested that Sanctuary staff prepare a background paper on this topic that would address various impacts that vessels are causing re: environmental degradation (revisit and review the documents generated from the SAC Water Quality working group); report relevant legal analysis; and, identify key stakeholders with whom further discussions should be conducted (i.e., SWIM, EPA, CZM, among others). This staff effort will provide needed background information to enhance a more detailed discussion at the next SAC meeting.

40th Meeting Actions - November 5, 2013

In response to a motion passed at the 39th SAC meeting in June 2013, the SAC submitted a letter of support to NOAA concerning the National Marine Fisheries Service proposal to make permanent the rules it implemented 5 years ago to reduce the number of collisions between ships and North Atlantic right whales. The comment period closed on September 15th. NMFS is still 'crunching' the final rule. There likely will not be a resolution before July 2015. Shipstrike Letter.

Sanctuary staff prepared a letter in response to a discussion SAC members had at the 39th SAC meeting in June 2013 concerning whether the SAC should support a designation of a no discharge zone for SBNMS. Reference was made to such an action supported in the SBNMS Management Plan and subsequent discussions with the SBNMS Water Quality Working Group. As a result of the letter that was presented at the 40th SAC meeting along with further discussion amongst SAC members, a motion passed that the sanctuary staff come back to the council at the 41st SAC meeting in May 2014 with a draft regulation that would create a no discharge zone within the sanctuary for the council's review and discussion. No Discharge Zone Letter.

Motion passed that the SAC Executive Committee create a tentatively named Business and Tourism Working Group – the details of which will be fleshed out by the Executive Committee, wherein the Executive Committee will take and use documents that are about to come out of the two national subcommittees that will guide them in that decision.

SAC Leadership Award Subcommittee. There have been no nominations for the Leadership Award for 2013. John Galluzzo, Chair of the Leadership Award Subcommittee recommended that it be disbanded, since only one nomination was received since its inception in 2008. After some discussion, the SAC agreed to 'shelve' the subcommittee until further notice.

44th Meeting Action - May 20, 2015

Craig MacDonald, sanctuary Superintendent, provided an update on the "Call to Action" MPA letter that SAC members discussed extensively at the last (43rd) SAC meeting in October 2014. Following this discussion, SAC members voted to have the SAC Chair sign the letter on its behalf. At that time, there was some question about where the letter was being sent once all parties signed it. Craig reports that as of December 2014, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee released a final statement on the "Call to Action". So this letter was met with universal support from 16 major organizations that deal with MPAs within NOAA and DOI. Subsequently, a short statement with a link to the document was posted on the ONMS website. The news release was available on the same day as a constituent newsletter was distributed by ONMS to a list serve highlighting the "Call to Action" and the intent of the groups. The MPA Center sent the letter to the heads of NOAA and DOI, and it was also listed on their websites as an MPA work product for 2014. Flowing from this letter, there are two actions underway by ONMS and the MPA Center. The first is "Get into your Sanctuary Day" which was discussed earlier. This is the first ONMS action to begin implementing the intent of this letter. The MPA Center also has sent a recreational use survey around to all the sanctuary superintendents, which has been completed, as to what other recreational activities take place within the various sanctuaries. The MPA Center is now circulating this survey throughout the DOI parks and refuge systems across the U.S. The feedback from the recreational use surveys will be helpful to identify demographics, uses, and to see how all of this coalesces so that a larger strategy by DOI, ONMS, and the MPA Center can be developed. So this "Call to Action" is getting a tremendous amount of play and the SBNMS SAC was part of a very big process that is well underway. Joint MPA FAC and SAC Call to Action Statement.

47th Meeting Action - June 1, 2016

Motion passed to action the sanctuary staff to perform an assessment and present a summary status on the Management Plan action plans which will be provided to the SAC in advance of the October 2016 meeting with the intent of furthering a SAC review and discussion. The SAC Executive Committee will review and provide direction as appropriate upon receipt. Proposal for a SAC Conservation Strategies Committee presented by John Williamson, Secretary to the SAC Executive Committee

48th Meeting Action - 5 October 2016

The Council recommended the formation of Small Boats Working Group for small boat interactions with whales. Laura Howes volunteered to help form a small boat working group. This is where we have an opportunity to explore this issue working within the framework of the existing Management Plan and to come up with some strategies.

The Council passed a motion for the formation of a Management Plan Subcommittee to perform an assessment and present a summary status on the Management Plan action plans which will be provided to the SAC in advance of the October 2017 meeting with the intent of furthering a SAC review and discussion. The SAC Executive Committee will review and provide direction as appropriate upon receipt.

49th Meeting Action - 8 March 2017

The Executive Committee will take the lead working with the sanctuary on the Annual Work Plan. Heather Knowles, SAC Chair, asked Nathalie Ward and Ben Haskell to provide the Executive Committee with some examples and templates from other sanctuaries for ideas on how the SAC can do something efficient, focused, and brief. The Annual Work Plan is really of value and complementary to focusing SAC meetings and lining up with the priorities the sanctuary has and how the SAC can best advise and participate with the sanctuary. The Executive Committee hopes to report back at the May 2017 meeting. Once the SAC Annual Work Plan is established, it will be easy to update.

The Council Executive Committee will discuss with sanctuary staff the feasibility of adding another recreational fishing seat to the SAC.

50th Meeting Action - 31 March 2017

John Galluzzo, Chair of the Business and Tourism Subcommittee is reinvigorating. It had started under Craig MacDonald, former sanctuary superintendent, but the subcommittee waited for marching orders from HQ ONMS that were slow in coming, and then Craig retired. The subcommittee did things like try to reach out to MA State office of travel and tourism. John said he will reach out to past members and hopes to recruit new ones. SAC members are asked to consider joining the subcommittee.

51st Meeting Action - 1 March 2018

Sanctuary staff is proposing four formal SAC meetings per year with one being a webinar to keep momentum going. SAC members are asked to recommend potential new locations and venues that would better serve the current make-up of the SAC and balance the burden of the commute.

A SAC Work Plan is required by the SAC Charter. SAC members are asked to review the draft SAC Work Plan and provide the Executive Committee with comments and ideas.

AtlanticLink is a proposal for a clean energy project which has been submitted in response to the Massachusetts Clean Energy RFP. The proposal is to install a high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable from New Brunswick Canada to Plymouth MA, connecting into the Pilgrim Nuclear Station after it is retired in 2019. Ben Haskell, Sanctuary Acting Superintendent, will contact the Emera Company to see if they can present at the next meeting to address SAC members' concerns regarding the cable line.

Better ways need to be explored to manage maritime heritage sites damaged by trawlers.  The SAC Executive Committee proposed creating a Maritime Heritage working group to focus on this issue and bring some options forward to engage external parties apart from the SAC. The SAC Executive Committee will follow up off line as to what the SAC representation of the working group would entail and will reach out to these specific SAC members ( i.e., maritime heritage, diving, recreational fishing, and conservation members as the core representation). Motion was passed to create a Maritime Heritage working group.

SBNMS and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuaries were chosen as sentinel sites to undergo two surveys to be conducted by two economists from Office of National Marine Sanctuary Headquarters. The first is an economic survey to determine the value and benefits of sanctuary research. The second one is two-part valuation of wildlife viewing trips. One survey for owners/operators in Spring 2018 and one for passengers in Summer 2018. The purpose of the study is to determine the contribution of whale watching and other wildlife viewing in the sanctuary and benefits to the greater regional economy. Ben Haskell will reach out to SAC members who will be directly involved with both surveys. Sanctuary staff is looking for volunteers to administer the whale watch survey.

Anne-Marie Runfola, SAC Coordinator, reported that the SAC Charter will expire on February 8th. This is an opportunity for the SAC to update/revise the Charter. Deadline to submit revisions to Office of National Marine Sanctuary Headquarters is February 18th. Anne-Marie will follow-up with the SAC Executive Committee so they can get a sense of the scope of the work involved before soliciting input from the SAC.

Heather Knowles, SAC Chair, will follow up with Executive Committee on the Draft SAC Work Plan to figure out next steps and discussions.

52nd Meeting Actions – March 1, 2018

SAC members are asked to commit to concrete issues to help sanctuary staff meet its biggest priorities that tie into the overall sanctuary mission.  To this effect, SAC members are asked to send their specific commitments to Anne-Marie Runfola who will compile them into a Google Doc that will be shared and can be revised as needed by anyone at anytime.  This document will tie into and align with the SAC Work Plan.

54th Meeting Actions - October 18, 2018

Heather Knowles, Advisory Council Chair, asked that sanctuary staff send the SAC subcommittee and working group meeting minutes to members to keep them up to date.

Heather Knowles, Advisory Council Chair, agreed that the SAC needs to tackle the public's perception of the Great White shark and think about messaging and proactively change this perception. Heather will work with the SAC Executive Committee on how to incorporate and structure this into the SAC Work Plan.

Heather Knowles, Advisory Council Chair, suggested that it is time to begin to formalize the findings and recommendations of the SAC working groups and subcommittees. This may be an action that can be tagged for sanctuary staff and the SAC Executive Committee to set dates within the framework of the overall Management Plan update timeline; to take a look at the recommendations, then report to the SAC. This is something to think about over the next few months.

55th Meeting Action – February 13, 2019

Access to Information on Shipwreck Sites: Overall, there needs to be greater clarity on the regulatory and legal framework and what it would take to shift from a policy of non-disclosure to one of "appropriate" disclosure. The Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) Maritime Heritage Working Group (MHWG) needs feedback on the proposal for access to information. Heather Knowles, MHWG and SAC Chair, recommended the SAC be presented with the legal and regulatory framework around this issue at the next meeting to facilitate a continued discussion and potential options.