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To understand and protect the coastal ecosystem and cultural resources of central California
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), designated in 1992, is a Federally protected marine area offshore of California's central coast. Stretching from Marin to Cambria, the MBNMS encompasses a shoreline length of 276 miles and 5,322 square miles of ocean, extending an average distance of 30 miles from shore. The MBNMS was established for the purpose of resource protection, research, education and public use. There are a variety of potential resource threats and opportunities within the Sanctuary due to the sensitivity of habitats and species in the region, the long stretch of adjacent populated coastline, and the multiple uses of the marine environment. Sanctuary research and monitoring programs evaluate the status and health of marine species, habitats and ecosystems, provide critical information to resource managers, and coordinate activities with the array of world-class research institutions in the region. Resource protection activities use a variety of means to reduce or prevent detrimental human impacts, including collaborative planning efforts, regulations and permits, emergency response activities, enforcement and education. Education and outreach is used as a critical element in enhancing understanding and stewardship of this national treasure, ranging from public events and interactive teacher workshops to extensive written materials and volunteer programs designed to reach sanctuary users directly.
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