Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

Located in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties along 156 miles of central coastline, the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary is the first Tribally-led and nominated marine sanctuary in the United States. The Chumash peoples have worked for generations to safeguard the coast from offshore oil expansion, pollution, and other threats to local marine life. The area plays a critical role in a delicate marine ecosystem, and holds deep cultural and spiritual significance for the Chumash.

Protection Status

For over 40 years, Tribal leaders, community, environmental NGOs, activists, and elected officials have voiced the importance of establishing a National Marine Sanctuary. They are currently working toward their designation as a marine sanctuary with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Protection Status

For over 40 years, Tribal leaders, community, environmental NGOs, activists, and elected officials have voiced the importance of establishing a National Marine Sanctuary. They are currently working toward their designation as a marine sanctuary with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Local experts

Learn more about Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary from our partners on the ground.

“Chumash Heritage Marine Sanctuary: Road to 30 Postcard” by Center for Western Priorities

BIODIVERSITY

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The proposed sanctuary would protect local animal species including the southern sea otter, whales, pelicans, snowy egrets, blue herons, and more.

CLIMATE RESILIENCE

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The proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would ban offshore oil and natural gas extraction, including seismic blasting, which harms fish, dolphins and whales, and oil pipeline construction, protecting California’s spectacular Central Coast from oil spills. These measures would protect the region’s wildlife and water quality from pollution, and help buffer the worsening impacts of climate change on California’s coastal waters, such as ocean acidification and warming.

ACCESS

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The coastal lands that may be designated by the sanctuary require protection so that the Chumash people can safely access sites they have used for ceremonies and rituals for thousands of years. The area also offers recreational access to the surrounding communities.


Tribal Acknowledgement

California’s central coast is culturally and historically significant to the Chumash people, who have stewarded this region since time immemorial. The Sanctuary will protect submerged Chumash sacred sites ranging from villages to solstice alignments, and provide opportunities to learn about and celebrate Chumash heritage and culture.


Local Views

See how others are sharing their #PowerInNature

Violet Sage Walker

The Chumash people are oceangoing people. We lived by the ocean, it sustained us through food and through trade and through ceremony.”

Violet Sage Walker

Northern Chumash Tribal Council Chairwoman

Resources

NEWS

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Votes Unanimously to Support the Designation of the Chumash Heritage Sanctuary

CHUMASH SANCTUARY
HELP TODAY

Volunteer with Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary

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Margaret PJ Webb

The Chumash have been the stewards and guardians since time immemorial, approximately twenty thousand years according to Western archaeology. The amazing thing about this movement is that we have come from a very small, under-resourced community grassroots movement, and have come so far by working hand in hand with the Northern Chumash Tribal Council.”

Margaret PJ Webb

Public Interest Attorney

Sanctuary nominator and former Northern Chumash Tribal Council Chair, Fred Collins (1953-2021)
Sanctuary nominator and former Northern Chumash Tribal Council Chair, Fred Collins (1953-2021)

DID YOU KNOW?

Morro Rock, which the Chumash people call Lisamu is one of the sacred places located in this region, and is used for the Chumash people to journey to and pray in winter and summer solstice ceremonies.

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary
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