PUBLIC MEETINGS TO EVALUATE THE OPERATION OF STELLWAGEN BANK NATIONAL
September 17, 2002
Anne Smrcina, 781-545-8026 x204
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced
today it will hold a series of public meetings throughout New
England to help them evaluate the regulations, boundaries, and
strategies for the management and operation of the Gerry E. Studds
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The meetings are part
of the process by which the sanctuary and the public evaluate
sanctuary operations every five years. NOAA is an agency of the
staff will hold the public scoping meetings in communities along
the New England coast, beginning in Mystic, Conn., Sept. 24, and
ending with a meeting in Plymouth, Mass., on Oct. 5. Scoping meetings
provide an opportunity for the public to make direct comments
on issues related to the region and management of the sanctuary's
natural and cultural resources, as well as overall sanctuary administration.
The public comment period will remain open until Oct. 18, 2002.
24 - Mystic, Conn., 7 p.m., Mystic Aquarium
25 - New Bedford, Mass., 7 p.m., Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake
26 - Provincetown, Mass., 7 p.m., Town Hall Aud., 260 Commercial
Sept. 28 - Falmouth, Mass., 10 a.m., Sea Education Assn, 177 Woods
30 - Gloucester, Mass., 7 p.m., Gloucester City Hall Council Ch.,
9 Dale Ave.
Oct. 1 - Portland, Maine, 7 p.m., Univ. of Maine School of Law,
246 Deering Ave.
Oct. 2 - Portsmouth, N.H., 7 p.m., Yokens Restaurant & Conference
Center, Rte. 1, S. 1390 Lafayette Rd.
3 - Boston, Mass., 7 p.m., New England Aquarium, Central Wharf
5 - Plymouth, Mass., 11 a.m., Plymouth Public Library, 132 South
In preparation for the meetings, a State
of the Sanctuary report is available online or in hard copy
at the sanctuary office in Scituate, Mass. The report provides
information about the sanctuary, its significant accomplishments
and the current resource management issues of concern.
Congress designated the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuary in 1992 as "an area of special national significance."
Virtually the size of the state of Rhode Island, the sanctuary
stretches between Cape Ann and Cape Cod in federal waters off
of Massachusetts. The sanctuary is renowned as a major feeding
area for marine mammals, particularly humpback whales, and supports
an ecosystem of diverse wildlife.
National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the
public awareness of America's maritime heritage by conducting
scientific research, monitoring, exploration, and educational
programs. Today, 13 national marine sanctuaries encompass more
than 18,000 square miles of America's ocean and Great Lakes natural
and cultural resources. In addition, the NMSP is now conducting
a sanctuary designation process to incorporate the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve into the national
sanctuary system. For more information about the Stellwagen Bank
National Marine Sanctuary, please visit http://stellwagen.nos.noaa.gov.
National Ocean Service (NOAA Ocean Service) manages the National
Marine Sanctuary Program and is dedicated to exploring, understanding,
conserving, and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. NOAA
Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic
prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation,
supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats, and
mitigating coastal hazards. To learn more about NOAA Ocean Service
and the National Marine Sanctuary Program, please visit http://www.nos.noaa.gov.