Sanctuary officials await new boundary decision - Choice has been made but it is being kept a secret

By Amelia Hansen, STAFF WRITER
San Mateo County Times


HALF MOON BAY, CA-- Will the County Coast become part of the Gulf of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary?

Daniel Basta, director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in Maryland, has made a decision regarding the proposed boundary change for the Farallones sanctuary. But for the next week, that decision will remain a secret.

Officials with the Farallones and Monterey Bay sanctuaries are waiting with "baited breath" as Basta's decision is filtered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's approval process. Once the decision is approved, Basta will release the information to the public -- most likely some time next week.

"As far as we're concerned, we're glad for the amount of deliberation they've given to this," said Mary Jane Schramm, a Farallones sanctuary staff member. "But we hope we'll be hearing from them soon."

The 1,255-square-mile Farallones sanctuary currently extends from Bodega Bay to an area in Marin County just north of San Francisco.

But some people would like to see the southern border extended south to encompass the San Mateo County Coast, which is currently co-managed by the Farallones and the 5,300-square-mile Monterey Bay sanctuary.

At a public meeting last December, Basta traveled to Half Moon Bay to listen to residents speak for and against the boundary change. While some Coastsiders seemed to identify more with the Farallones sanctuary because of its geographic proximity, others -- like some South Coast farmers -- maintained they did not want to end their relationship with Monterey Bay.

Maria Brown, new manager for the Farallones, said her staff's primary goal is to protect the ecosystem; the most effective way of doing that is with the community.

"This decision needs to reflect what the community wants," she said.

Staff writer Amelia Hansen covers the Coast. She can be reached at (650) 348-4301 or by e-mail at .



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