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NOAA Begins Process to Potentially Protect Waters Off New York, New Jersey

NOAA is seeking public comment on potentially designating a new national marine sanctuary in Hudson Canyon off the coast of New York and New Jersey. A sanctuary designation would help conserve the area’s rich marine wildlife and habitats, promote sustainable economic activities and create new opportunities for scientific research, ocean education and recreation.

Hudson Canyon is the largest underwater canyon along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and is about 100 miles off the coast of New York and New Jersey. The canyon ⁠— about 2 to 2.5 miles deep and up to 7.5 miles wide⁠—  provides habitat for a range of protected and sensitive species, including sperm whales, sea turtles and deep sea corals. The canyon’s rich biodiversity is integral to the region’s economy, underpinning commercial and recreational fisheries, recreational diving, whale-watching and birding.

The National Marine Sanctuaries Act allows NOAA to designate and protect areas of the ocean and Great Lakes with special national significance. As directed by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, NOAA and other federal agencies are pursuing a holistic approach to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to climate change and its impacts, including by conserving and restoring ocean and coastal ecosystems. This action is consistent with that approach, including by seeking to expand the National Marine Sanctuary System as one recommendation of the Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative.

To Comment

The public can comment on the proposed Hudson Canyon sanctuary designation until August 8, 2022, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The docket number is NOAA-NOS-2022-0053. In addition, NOAA will host public meetings during which members of the public can offer oral comments.

A detailed description of the proposed sanctuary, additional information about opportunities to provide comment, and information about the public meetings can be found on NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries website.

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