Santa Barbara, California – Yesterday, Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to send a resolution of support for the designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary (CHNMS). Santa Barbara County Supervisors Das Williams; Gregg Hart and Steve Lavagnino joined Chair Bob Nelson and Vice Chair Joan Hartmann to express their support.
“The CHNMS would protect Chumash sacred sites and preserve the heritage of Chumash Peoples who have resided in this area since time immemorial,” the resolution states. “Climate change, human uses, and other threats present an imminent need to increase protections of our coastal waters.”
Sam Cohen, Government Affairs and Legal Officer of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and Linda Krop, Chief Counsel for the Environmental Defense Center, both spoke in favor of the resolution supporting the sanctuary.
The proposed sanctuary includes waters off the northwestern coast of Santa Barbara County, and would allow for the prohibition of offshore oil drilling, seismic testing, and other environmentally harmful activities.
On November 10th, 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a Notice of Intent advancing the public process to designate the CHNMS.
Violet Sage Walker, the Northern Chumash Tribal Council Chairwoman and nominator of the sanctuary, graciously accepted Santa Barbara County’s resolution of support and encouraged the County and the entire Central Coast community to engage in the public scoping process which is underway until January 31, 2022.
“Successfully designating the Chumash Heritage sanctuary will protect ocean life, sacred Chumash sites, strengthen Indigenous communities and serve as a model of environmental justice,” Sage Walker stated. “We look forward to working with local communities including the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors during the public scoping process and beyond to ensure the proposed sanctuary serves the needs of our community.”
Visit chumashsanctuary.org to learn more about the proposed sanctuary and how you can support it.