PORT ANGELES — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials are seeking public comment on updating the resource management plan for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Written comments can be sent either online at https://www.regulations.gov/ using docket number NOAA-NOS-NOAA-NOS-2023-0003, or to NOAA Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, 115 E. Railroad Ave., Suite 301, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Comments will be accepted until April 3.
To learn more about the management plan, see https://olympiccoast.noaa.gov/management/mpr/.
Five public meetings are planned, three in-person on the North Olympic Peninsula, one in Pacific Beach, and a scoping meeting online.
All begin at 5 p.m. The in-person meetings end at 8 p.m.
The in-person meetings are:
• Feb. 21 — Pacific Beach Elementary School Gym, 11 Fourth St., Pacific Beach.
• Feb. 22 — Rainforest Art Center, 35 N. Forks Ave., Forks.
• Feb. 23 — Makah Community Gym, 1394 Bayvew Ave., Neah Bay.
• Feb. 24 — Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles.
The virtual meeting will be hosted by NOAA on Feb. 27 via GoToMeeting
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is the only marine sanctuary in the Pacific Northwest. It provides oceanic and coastal environment important to the survival of several species of fish, birds and marine mammals.
It is also a source of economic, recreational and cultural significance for the surrounding communities like Forks, Neah Bay, Port Angeles and the greater North Olympic Peninsula.
The resource management plan was last updated in 2011 and since then new opportunities, partnerships and technology have emerged along with new resource management issues.
“An evaluation of what has been implemented and what else is needed will allow site managers and partners to address new priorities,” said Jacqueline Laverdure, education and outreach coordinator for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Some of the new priorities include increased human uses, changing ocean conditions, threats to water quality, impacts on wildlife, and introduced species, she said.
“During the public scoping period, we hope to receive input from sanctuary users, interest groups, government agencies, and other members of the public on these issues and more,” Laverdure said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at email@example.com