Advisory Council Introduction
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries regards the involvement of communities and the development of a stewardship ethic as vitally important to successfully protect sanctuary resources. One key way to achieve this involvement is the formation of councils. Therefore, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is committed to the full support, utilization, and enhancement of councils at all sanctuaries.
The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS) established a Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) in the fall of 2005. The role of the SAC is to facilitate communication between the sanctuary staff and the diverse groups of people interested in how sanctuary resources are managed. The council is the mechanism for achieving involvement of community members and developing stewardship of the sanctuary.
The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary's advisory council consists of 20 members, with19 voting members and one non-voting youth seat. There are 8 government seats on the council representing the U. S. Navy, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, N.C. Local (Town/City/County) Government (2), Virginia Department of Historic Resources, National Park Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Non-governmental seats include Citizen-at-Large, Conservation, Economic Development, Education, Heritage Tourism, Maritime Archaeological Research, Recreational/Commercial Fishing (2), Recreational Diving (2), and The Mariners' Museum.
It is the combined expertise and experience of these individuals that creates an advisory council that is a valuable and effective resource for sanctuary management. The council's objectives are to provide the Sanctuary Superintendent with advice regarding the protection and management of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and other issues relevant to the broader National Marine Sanctuary System and ocean resources.
Council members serve as liaisons between their constituents and/or communities and the sanctuary, keeping sanctuary staff informed of issues and concerns, as well as providing information to their respective communities on the sanctuary's behalf.
The sanctuary advisory council holds open meetings to ensure continued public input on management issues and to increase public awareness and knowledge of the sanctuary environment. Public participation at these meetings is welcomed and encouraged. For further information on the structure and procedures of the council, see the Sanctuary Advisory Council Charter.
Applying for a Seat on the Council
Periodically the sanctuary program selects members for council vacancies. Applicants are chosen based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seats for which they are applying. Consideration includes knowledge of sanctuary resources, community and professional affiliations, residency in the sanctuary area, and philosophy regarding the protection and management of marine resources. Members serve without pay and terms run for two years with a three-term limit.