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North Coast | Environment & Forest Defense

Jet Ski Waves Off The North Central Coast In A State Marine Reserve
by Tomas DiFiore
Monday Jun 30th, 2014 9:55 AM
Plan To Visit The New National Monument at Point Arena, CA
Don't Forget Your Personal Motorized Water Craft
Jet Ski The Waves In A State Marine Reserve

Comments due by 9:00 pm Sunday 06.30.2014

Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries
Proposed Rule – Public Comments Open Until 9:00 pm (PCT) Sunday 06.30.2014
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2012-0228-0321

NOAA-NOS-2012-0228-0321
Proposed Rule

Modification of the Prohibition on Operating Motorized Personal Watercraft

GFNMS regulations prohibit the operation of all motorized personal watercraft (MPWC), except for emergency search and rescue missions or law enforcement operations (other than routine training activities) carried out by the National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Fire or Police Departments or other Federal, State or local jurisdictions. MPWC, which are often referred to as “jetskis”® or simply “skis,” include several small vessel designs that share similar performance characteristics. NOAA has restricted the use of MPWC within various sanctuaries when MPWC operation poses a unique and significant threat of disturbance to sanctuary habitats and wildlife through repetitive operation within sensitive environments. NOAA's assessments of MPWC impacts indicate that unrestricted access to all reaches of the sanctuary by such craft are likely to pose a threat to wildlife and other ocean users. Some MPWC operators commonly accelerate and decelerate repeatedly and unpredictably, travel at rapid speeds directly toward shore, and may maneuver close to rocks. Thus wildlife disturbance impacts from MPWC tend to be more likely than those from motorboat use, due to impacts in ecologically sensitive areas, often in nearshore locations. More detailed information on the impacts of MPWC can be found in the discussion of the proposed action in the DEIS published concurrently with this proposed rule.

NOAA proposes to extend the current regulation to the proposed expanded area, but would modify it to allow for the use of a MPWC equipped with a functioning Global Positioning System (GPS) unit within four newly designated zones within the sanctuary expansion area, as described in the next section.

Regulations That Would Apply Only to Proposed Expansion Area

Motorized Personal Watercraft (MPWC) Zones

Operation of MPWC would be allowed only within four designated zones within the proposed expansion area and would limit access to the nearshore. The proposed regulations specify that an operable GPS unit in working condition must be carried on all MPWC accessing each zone in order to accurately and precisely navigate to MPWC zones and to ensure that the MPWC stays within the designated zones. The proposed action would allow use of MPWC in areas totaling 33.4 square nautical miles. A map of the zones under consideration may be found in the DEIS posted online at:
http://farallones.noaa.gov/manage/expansion_cbgf.html

The sites of the four zones have been specifically proposed to minimize or prevent impacts on nearshore wildlife, and to protect known wildlife hotspots (which include areas of high biological diversity or abundance of species) or federally listed and specially protected species, while still allowing access to important recreational areas for surfing and where species of concern have a low likelihood of disturbance. Access to the proposed zones by conventional vessels would continue unchanged.

NOAA is proposing three year-round MPWC use zones and one seasonal MPWC zone within the GFNMS expansion area. Zone 1 is approximately 8.5 square miles and is proposed from latitude 39 to Arena Cove. This seasonal zone would be open from October through February. It would be closed from March through September to limit potential negative interactions with MPWC landing on Manchester Beach during the time Snowy Plovers, listed as threatened by the Endangered Species Act, nest on beaches.

Zone 2 is approximately 26.2 square miles and is proposed from Arena Cove to Havens Neck. Prominent visual markers at Arena Cove, Moat, Saunders Landing, Iverson Landing and Haven's Neck would be used to define the eastern boundary. The proposed zone would require MPWC users to stay seaward of all the listed points at all times. Use of waypoints at each of the shoreside locations would help operators with compliance.

Zone 3 is approximately 3.8 square miles and is offshore of Timber Cove. Zone 3 would be accessed through a boat ramp at Timber Cove.

Zone 4 is approximately 6.1 square miles including the access route area and is proposed offshore of Bodega Head to Coleman Beach. A 100-yard access route from Bodega Harbor using the harbor entrance and two navigational buoys would allow entrance to the southern boundary of the zone. Seasonal access would also be available through Salmon Creek, at Bean Avenue and the Ranger Station.

NOAA is not proposing to change the definition of MPWC used by current GFNMS regulations in this proposed rule. However, NOAA has proposed to consolidate and standardize definitions that are common to all sanctuaries (including modifications to definition of MPWC) in a separate rulemaking (78 FR 5998) published January 28, 2013. The reasoning behind and impacts of this proposal are being analyzed as part of the separate rulemaking with a separate public review process. A final rule is currently in development for this separate action.

I personally don't see the point in prohibiting Oil and Gas Extraction, but creating new playgrounds for fuel burning motorized personal watercraft!

Make a comment, please!

Tomas DiFiore
Mendocino Coast