Protecting the sanctuary's resources is a collaborative process involving local, State and Federal agencies, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other national marine sanctuaries, including Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. In addition, the Sanctuary Superintendent meets regularly with the Sanctuary Advisory Council to receive advice and recommendations regarding the protection and management of the sanctuary. To protect the sanctuary's resources, the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary staff, with the help of our partners, focuses on education, including on ocean etiquette; permitting; regulations; appropriate enforcement; and consultation with other federal agencies.
A variety of stressors hold the potential to affect, or are already adversely affecting, the sanctuary environment and the resources within it, as described in the Management Plan and Condition Report (produced prior to the sanctuary expansion in 2015). The results of a variety of scientific research and monitoring studies of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary habitats and resources and their conditions, combined with information about stressors on this dynamic ecosystem, serve to inform the staff and its partners working to identify and address current resource protection issues and emerging threats while also allowing for uses of the sanctuary that are compatible. Some of the current issues are: ship strikes of whales; ocean noise; emergency spills or other incidents affecting water quality; effects resulting from global changes, including a changing climate and ocean; and marine debris. Although not an exhaustive list, the sanctuary staff has identified some science needs to help support resource protection efforts. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries also has a five-year strategic plan for advancing the protection of the ocean and Great Lakes places it manages.