Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Northern Chumash Tribal Council applauds California Democrats urging Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary designation

May 11, 2023

PRESS RELEASE

San Luis Obispo, CA – Northern Chumash Tribal Council applauds California Democrats Carbajal, Feinstein, Padilla and others as they urge the U.S. Department of Commerce to prioritize completing the designation process for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Yesterday, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24), U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, and a group of 12 other Members of Congress from California urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to prioritize completing the designation process for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary off the central coast of California. 

The lawmakers wrote, “As you know, the people of the Central Coast of California have pursued this sanctuary designation for decades, and celebrated the decision to move the nomination forward in 2021. It has now been more than a year since the public scoping process concluded, and it is crucial that this momentum toward designation continues without delay, with the publication of the draft designation documents this spring and a final designation this year.”

According to an analysis of comments submitted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and posted on regulations.gov, the 83-day public comment period resulted in more than 30,000 people expressing their support for the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.

Violet Sage Walker, the Northern Chumash Tribal Council Chairwoman applauded continued support by Rep. Carbajal and other members of Congress. In 2020, Carbajal, Feinstein, and then-Senator Kamala Harris successfully secured an extension of the proposed sanctuary from the Trump Administration, keeping the process alive for enough time for the Biden-Harris Administration to move forward with the designation process in 2021 without needing to review a new proposal.

“Successfully designating the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary will protect ocean life, sacred Chumash sites, strengthen Indigenous communities and serve as a model of environmental justice…Establishing a tribal-led ocean conservation sanctuary with tribal collaborative management will demonstrate that the United States is a leader in advancing environmental justice and equity,” Sage Walker stated. Fred Collins, the late Tribal Chair and Nominator, had a lifelong vision for establishing the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary to conserve precious life and cultural sacred sites in heritage waters. “Grandmother Ocean has been providing life to the Chumash Peoples for over ten thousand years, now is the time for all communities to work together and assist her in rebuilding her Vibrant Thrivability for all future generations,” Collins said before he passed into spirit on October 1, 2021

Democratic lawmakers agree, “These abundant waters are essential to the heritage of ocean-going First People of the Pacific Coast…Through the application of traditional ecological knowledge, we can better understand climate change and build resilience to protect the biodiversity, cultural values, and economy of the Central Coast of California.”

The letter was signed by Carbajal, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, and Representatives Julia Brownley (CA-26), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), John Garamendi (CA-8), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Zoe Lofgren (CA-18), Grace Napolitano (CA-31), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Katie Porter (CA-47), Adam Schiff (CA-30), and Mark Takano (CA-39).

Visit chumashsanctuary.org to learn more about the proposed sanctuary and how you can support it.


Links:

May 2023 Congressional Letter

US Congressman Salud Carbajal Press Release

US Senator Alex Padilla Press Release

KEYT News: Rep. Carbajal joins other California Congressmembers in pushing for Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

NOAA Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary Fact Sheet

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