LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council today declared its support for a national marine sanctuary along the Central California Coast proposed by the Northern Chumash Tribal Council.
The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary was proposed in 2015 and the Biden administration advanced the proposal in November, according to the council's resolution, which called it a ``monumental step in a more than 40 year effort to preserve sacred Chumash cultural sites, unique coastal waters and biodiversity hotspots along the Central Coast of California.''
According to its website, the sanctuary would preserve marine and cultural resources along 156 miles of the coast and safeguard the area from offshore oil expansion. It also estimates it would generate $23 million in economic activity and create 600 jobs.
The resolution to declare the city's support for the designation was introduced by Councilmen Mitch O'Farrell and Paul Koretz last month and passed the City Council Tuesday 14-0, with Councilman John Lee absent.
``Our waters, beaches and biodiversity are what make Los Angeles and all of Southern California unique and beautiful. We must do all we can to protect these local ecosystems, and we urge the federal government to approve this groundbreaking proposal from the Chumash,'' O'Farrell said.
The resolution also calls on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to adopt sanctuary regulations to aggressively protect wildlife, water quality and cultural values -- and for the regulations to prohibit new offshore oil and gas development or deep-sea mining, phase out existing fossil fuel infrastructure and leases and develop programs to reduce pollution from land and ocean-based sources.
In addition, it calls for the sanctuary to be co-managed by the Chumash Tribe and for the development of research programs that address the impact of climate change and educational programs that focus on ocean ecology and tribal cultural.
``It makes good fiscal and environmental sense to protect California's coastal waters, which attract millions of tourists annually. Marine-protected areas have time and again shown that giving nature a breather can have a tremendously beneficial healing effect on underwater biodiversity,'' Koretz said. ``We must prioritize protection of native flora, fauna and Native cultures, because they are each vital to the future of California.''
The National Marine Sanctuary Program was created in 1977 to designate marine areas as sanctuaries, promoting conservation, research and more.