09 June 2011 Law to Protect Marine Wildlife Moves Forward Posted by: Richard Charter | Leave a comment | Share: Gulf of the Farallones Finally, some good news for American coasts! Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed the “Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act.” The legislation, which Senators Boxer and Feinstein introduced in January, would permanently protect California’s coastal waters and estuaries in Sonoma County and portions of Mendocino County by extending the boundaries of existing marine sanctuaries. “One of America’s most important natural treasures moved one step closer to achieving permanent protection today,” said Richard Charter, marine policy advisor for Defenders of Wildlife. “Given recent threats to sacrifice local economies and the marine environment to offshore drilling, this is a critical and timely first step toward long-sought preservation.” The Sonoma and Mendocino coasts are one of the planet’s most biologically productive marine environments. These areas support many species of marine mammals, birds and fishes, including endangered blue and humpback whales. The bill would expand the boundaries of the two existing National Marine Sanctuaries to protect the entire coastline in Sonoma County and as far north as Point Arena in Mendocino County, adding nearly 2,100 square nautical miles to the sanctuaries. The new boundaries would protect the Russian and Gualala River estuaries and the nutrient-rich Bodega Canyon from offshore oil drilling and pollution. This move couldn’t come at a better time. Just yesterday, the Coast Guard responded to a seven-mile slick off the coast of Louisiana. The oil is believed to be continued fallout from from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Coast Guard has sent pollution investigators to the scene to take samples, which will go to a lab for confirmation. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?