In managing OCNMS, NOAA is guided by the following mission statement:
Mission - To protect the Olympic Coast's natural and cultural resources through responsible
stewardship, to conduct and apply research to preserve the area's ecological integrity and maritime
heritage, and to promote understanding through public outreach and education.
Day-to-day management of national marine sanctuaries has been delegated by the Secretary of Commerce
to NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
The primary objective of the NMSA is to protect marine resources, such as coral reefs, sunken
historical vessels or unique habitats.
NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries protect and manage some of our countries most dynamic
and beautiful marine environments, and storied maritime heritage resources. Americans have been
enjoying National Marine Sanctuaries for nearly 40 years. For more background on the management of
sanctuaries at the national level, see Management 101.
Day-to-day management of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is delegated to the Sanctuary
Superintendent and sanctuary staff, located in Port Angeles, Washington. Olympic Coast National Marine
Sanctuary was designated in 1994. As part of the designation process NOAA completed a
Final Environmental Impact Statement/Management Plan (1993).
Starting in 2008, the sanctuary began a three year process to update the original management plan.
We have just recently completed this task and have begun implementation. For more information on
our revised management plan, as well as the management plan review process see our
Management Plan page.
In 2007, in recognition of the role that the Hoh, Makah, Quileute Tribes, the Quinault Indian Nation
and the state of Washington play in the management of the Olympic Coast, the
Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council (IPC) was formed.
The first of its kind in the nation, the IPC provides a regional forum for resource managers to
exchange information, coordinate policies, and develop recommendations for resource management
within the sanctuary. For more about the IPC and its importance to sanctuary management, see our
In order to manage the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary we must balance the diverse interests
of citizens, organizations and partner agencies and make informed decisions that protect
resources without unfairly hurting sanctuary users and stakeholders. To better understand those
interests and enlist help from those who we serve, the sanctuary staff listens to a
Sanctuary Advisory Council.
The council meets regularly and is comprised of representatives of Indian tribes, state and local
governments, other federal agencies, industry, conservation organizations and citizens. For more
information, see our Advisory Council page.
As part of the original 1994 designation NOAA drafted
regulations to protect sanctuary resources. These regulations were reviewed and
updated as part of the 2008-2011 management plan review. For our recently updated regulations,
go to our Regulations page.
Certain activities that are prohibited by sanctuary regulations can be permitted for specific
purposes if conditions are met. For more information on our permits, see our