Environmental Defense Supports Marine Sanctuary Expansion on Sonoma Coast

August 12, 2004

(12 August 2004 ? Oakland, CA)  Environmental Defense praised new legislation proposed by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) that would substantially expand the existing boundaries of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries to include the Sonoma County coastline as far north as the town of Gualala.

“The time has come to protect the Sonoma Coast,” said Environmental Defense marine conservation advocate Richard Charter.  “The economic importance and biological vitality of this region’s nearshore waters, combined with emerging new threats here, create a compelling need to act now.” 

A public hearing on Rep. Woolsey’s bill is being held at 7 p.m. on August 12 in the chambers of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in Santa Rosa. 

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary was created in 1981, primarily to ensure permanent protection for the California coastline along Marin County from offshore oil and gas drilling and other negative impacts.  Rep. Woolsey’s Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Boundary Modification and Protection Act would expand the protections now enjoyed by the existing sanctuaries to extend northward along the length of the Sonoma Coast. Two prestigious national commissions, the Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, have released reports outlining the problems in our oceans and emphasizing the urgent need for restoration measures and additional zones of protection.