(Marin) – The California State Lands Commission and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary today launched the Tomales Bay Mooring Program. The intent of this Program is to allow moorings while protecting sensitive habitat and wildlife from mooring use damage and improving water quality to facilitate clean and safe water-related recreation.
The California State Lands Commission and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary developed the Mooring Program after soliciting input from community stakeholders, including the Sanctuary Advisory Council, and by convening public meetings to receive comments. The Program allows moorings in appropriate locations and ameliorates illegal and improper moorings. It also establishes criteria for moorings, mandatory specifications for mooring tackle, and requirements for mooring inspection and maintenance.
“Tomales Bay is part of a beautiful marine sanctuary; this new Program will allow moorings while protecting the Marine Sanctuary,” said Gavin Newsom, Chair of the State Lands Commission. “It took a lot of hard work and community engagement to achieve this outcome and I look forward to its successful implementation.”
Tomales Bay, an inlet of Farallones Marine Sanctuary in Marin County, has received many designations and protections by local, state, national, and international agencies for the conservation and sustainable use of its waters for economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational purposes. Tomales Bay is a major biological community that supports a diversity of habitats, including eelgrass beds – which are nurseries for commercially valuable fish; intertidal sand and mud flats; and salt and freshwater marshes. Thousands of species of birds, other vertebrates, invertebrates and plants, including numerous threatened and endangered species, inhabit the Bay.
“Tomales Bay has long been recognized as a special place deserving a high level of ecosystem protection,” said Maria Brown, Superintendent of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. “Through partnerships with the boating community and the nine agencies that have jurisdiction in and around Tomales Bay, the Mooring Program can improve the bay’s water quality and habitats.”
Beginning August 10th, private mooring owners and littoral (waterfront) property owners will have an advance opportunity for a three-month period, through November 10, 2015, to apply for a mooring lease from the Commission. Existing private mooring holders should check their moorings on or after August 10, 2015 to retrieve a tag that contains instructions on required actions. Beginning November 10, 2015, individuals wishing to obtain a new mooring can apply for a lease from the Commission within established mooring zones. By February 10, 2016, all current mooring owners must take action by following instructions on their tags.
The Tomales Bay Mooring Program is based on a precautionary approach and is consistent with the mandates of the agencies that have jurisdiction over the Bay. The Program ensures that boating activities are conducted in a responsible manner through adoption of mooring policies and criteria.
More information on the Tomales Bay Mooring Program is available online at: www.slc.ca.gov and http://farallones.noaa.gov/eco/tomales/mooringprogram.html.
The State Lands Commission is an independent Commission consisting of the Lieutenant Governor, the State Controller, and the Director of Finance. Established in 1938, the Commission manages 4 million acres of tidelands and submerged lands and the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits. These lands, often referred to as sovereign or public trust lands, stretch from the Klamath River and Goose Lake on the north to the Tijuana Estuary and Colorado River on the south, and from the Pacific Coast 3 miles offshore on the west to world-famous Lake Tahoe on the east, and includes California’s two longest rivers, the Sacramento and San Joaquin.
Designated in 1981, NOAA’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary encompasses nearly 3,300 square miles of ocean and coastal waters beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate, and extending north to southern Mendocino County and south along San Mateo County. The sanctuary supports the largest seabird breeding colony in the contiguous United States, and other species such as endangered blue and humpback whales and white sharks. It contributes greatly to ocean and coastal management by engaging in public outreach and education, promotes stewardship, conducts scientific and applied research initiatives, and develops and supports programs to strengthen resource protection for the long-term health of the region.
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On the Web:
Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary: http://farallones.noaa.gov
Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association: www.farallones.org
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov