President Biden signed an executive order on January 27 in support of protecting 30 percent of our country’s lands and waters by 2030. Reaching 30 by 30 is not just a goal but a necessity if we wish to protect and preserve the natural areas we cherish.
One step toward reaching this goal can occur in our own backyard. The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would stretch 140 miles along the coast from Cambria to Santa Barbara and provides feeding grounds for 13 species of whales and dolphins. The area is also home to sea otter populations, kelp forests, and many others at the risk of losing their precious ecosystem to human threats like offshore oil and gas development, seabed mining, and impacts of climate change.
If we are going to give the ocean species that we love so much a fighting chance, we need to give them places of refuge. That is where Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) come in. MPAs are regions of the ocean protected from certain harmful human activities, like underwater parks. We should let our elected officials know that we believe in protecting the things that define California by calling for the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary to be designated a Marine Protected Area.