Fact Sheet: President Clinton: Preserving America's Ocean Treasures (11/13/00)
                             November 13, 2000

Today, President Clinton signed legislation extending protection for
America?s special ocean habitats. The President signed the National Marine
Sanctuaries Amendments Act of 2000 (S. 1482), thereby extending and
improving the management of the nation?s 13 marine sanctuaries. Marine
sanctuaries protect Florida?s fragile coral reefs, lush kelp forests off
Monterey Bay and the Channel Islands, nursing grounds for Hawaii?s humpback
whales, and significant maritime history including the Civil War ironclad
USS Monitor.

Preserving America?s Marine Treasures
Congress established the National Marine Sanctuary Program in 1972, one
hundred years after the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, our
nation?s first National Park. Marine sanctuaries extend this nation?s proud
conservation ethic to the sea, and today 13 marine sanctuaries provide
increased protections for over 18,000 square miles of ocean habitat.
National marine sanctuaries enjoy broad bipartisan support, and the
President acknowledged the Congressional leadership of this legislation for
their efforts. Over the past seven years, the Administration has worked
with Congress to increase funding for the sanctuary program fivefold to $26
million, with an additional increase requested for this fiscal year. We
have also added new sanctuaries off Massachusetts, Florida, Washington,
Hawaii, and, most recently, Michigan.

In administering the marine sanctuaries, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, marine sanctuaries work with local citizens to
find the best possible solutions to the tough challenges communities face
in protecting the marine environment. A recent report by the National
Research Council provides strong scientific support for the use of marine
protected areas, such as marine sanctuaries, to sustain fisheries, preserve
valuable habitats, provide outdoor leisure opportunities, and maintain
healthy marine ecosystems. On May 26, President Clinton issued an executive
order calling for more effective use of marine protected areas.

Extending Ocean Conservation, Encouraging the Next Generation of Scientists
In signing the National Marine Sanctuaries Amendment Act, the President
reaffirmed this nation?s commitment to ocean conservation. In addition to
strengthening and extending the sanctuary program, the Act provides the
?    Authorizes $32 million in fiscal year 2001, with levels increasing by
$2 million a year through fiscal year 2005. It also authorizes $6 million a
year in fiscal years 2001 through 2005 to provide the facilities needed to
manage these special places.
?    Allows for greater protection of the coral reefs off the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands, one of few remaining major coral reefs complexes affected
little by human development. These remote islands are home to approximately
70% of America?s coral reefs, and endangered monk seals and sea turtles.
?    Establishes the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships to recognize outstanding
scholarship, particularly by women and minorities, in the fields of
oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archeology. The scholarships are
named in memory of Dr. Nancy Foster, a 23-year NOAA employee who as
director of NOAA?s ocean service worked to expand and strengthen marine

Safeguarding Our Oceans and Coasts. The Clinton-Gore Administration
continues to work for healthier beaches and cleaner coastal waters, greater
protection for endangered and threatened marine species, sound fisheries
management, and support for marine protected areas. To better address
long-term challenges, the President and Vice President launched a national
dialogue leading to a comprehensive strategy for strengthening federal
ocean policy for the 21st century.

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