A sea otter drifts on the waves along the Central California coast. Photo: Don DeBold, Flickr
Scientists agree that the value of safeguarding this incredible biodiversity, and keeping ocean wildlife out of harm’s way, is backed by science. So much so, that a group of more than 150 scientists, professors and academics signed a letter organized by Environment California calling for this protection.
Read the letter here. Scientist letter.pdf
As a sanctuary, this area will be protected from major threats such as offshore oil and gas drilling. Sanctuary status also provides funding for research and better co-management of the area's key ecosystems with the Chumash people.
Without protections, the wildlife in this vital area is at risk. In October, there was an oil spill south of the proposed sanctuary’s boundaries. The spill encroached on protected wetlands, including Talbert Marsh, a nursery for many types of fish and home to migratory birds. The oil may persist here for years or decades to come, tarnishing beaches and harming wildlife. Protecting this area as a sanctuary will prevent this kind of disaster from occurring within sanctuary waters.
Aside from preventing environmental disasters, protecting ocean ecosystems helps us fight against climate change. The ocean stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere, and much of that is held in the type of wetlands and seagrass beds found in the Chumash area. Protecting places like this can help us heal the Earth at this critical moment in history.
We need more nature. We need more protected places for sea otters to play in kelp forests, places for marine life to thrive.