Wildlife Protection

Whale Rescue

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to more than twelve species of whales and porpoises which play a pivotal role in our marine ecosystem. Each whale, an essential apex predator, contributes significantly to our environment by sequestering over 33 tons of CO2 in their lifetime and nurturing healthy plankton populations. Despite their importance, these majestic creatures face daily threats from fishing gear entanglement, marine debris, ship strikes, noise pollution, and climate change. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is dedicated to safeguarding these ocean giants. We actively support whale disentanglement initiatives, funding rescue vessels and providing training for rescuers. Collaborating with community organizations and governmental agencies, we invest in research, promote safer shipping practices, and pioneer gear innovations to prevent whale entanglements, ensuring both marine life protection and the vitality of local fisheries.

Marine Debris

The Foundation is working to confront the pressing issues wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems. Our unwavering commitment extends to the removal of abandoned vessels, derelict fishing gear, and beach debris before it inflicts irreversible damage on the ocean. Removing the large debris takes highly coordinated teamwork, technical expertise, and community support to remove items that have been plaguing our sanctuary for decades. Our beach cleanups go beyond mere cleaning, they are educational and empowering experiences, fostering a sense of responsibility and proactive conservation.

Kelp Habitat Protection

The kelp forests in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are a realm that eludes the average beachgoer due to its submerged splendor. While local divers marvel at the majestic sea trees gracing our coastlines, the full experience of kelp beneath the waves remains beyond reach for many. Our Foundation is at the forefront of elevating kelp awareness, employing strategic planning, and conducting impactful educational outreach.  Collaborating with partners, we’ve curated inspiring art exhibits that celebrate the beauty and importance of kelp ecosystems.  We’ve hosted symposiums for NOAA scientists, indigenous managers, academics, and community partners to share research, monitor needs, and identify new approaches and technologies. These initiatives, combined with our collaborative efforts alongside NOAA and the Sanctuary Advisory Council, form a robust foundation for a comprehensive strategy. Together, we are poised to address the challenges facing kelp forests, ensuring their vitality for generations to come.

Docent Naturalist

Docent Naturalists Team OCEAN (Ocean Conservation Education Action Network) is a cornerstone of sanctuary outreach efforts, featuring trained and passionate naturalists who generously volunteer to engage with the public about the sanctuary’s wonders and how to protect its delicate wildlife. Annually, these volunteers reach over 5,000 people, playing a key role in educating boaters and visitors on the importance of coexisting with the sanctuary’s inhabitants, such as sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, birds, and other marine life. Their proactive presence has been instrumental in mitigating disturbances to wildlife by boaters and visitors alike. Team OCEAN operates in pivotal locations including the Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing and the rich kelp beds off Cannery Row in Monterey. With increased support and donations, we aim to help expand this vital program, broadening its impact and ensuring the sanctuary remains a safe haven for its diverse ecosystem.

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