The Biden Administration recently proposed a new marine sanctuary for the Hudson Canyon off the coast of New York and New Jersey.
The White House said the sanctuary, an underwater valley about 100 miles offshore, would help to “conserve and restore the health and productivity of the ocean for the benefit of all Americans.”
The Hudson Canyon is a rich fishing area and is one of the largest underwater canyons in the world, up to 2.5 miles deep in some areas and 7.5 miles wide. It’s the favored habitat of sperm whales, sea turtles, octopuses and deep sea corals. It also provides the underpinning for commercial and recreational fisheries, diving and the region’s economy.
President Biden has campaigned on a goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030, creating a “30 by 30” initiative. He also has pledged to create new protected zones to address climate change and protect important ecological zones.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it would begin a public comment period on the proposed sanctuary. The hearing process, which also includes an environmental impact analysis and management plan, could take a year.
“A sanctuary near one of the most densely populated areas of the Northeast U.S. would connect diverse communities across the region to the ocean and the canyon in new and different ways,” said Rick Spinrad, the NOAA Administrator.
The Wildlife Conservation Society submitted a nomination for a Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary in November, 2016, saying that the area provides a wide range of benefits to New York and New Jersey residents, including clean air, fresh water, recreation and food.