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Commenting on the Management Plan: A Step-by-step Guide

Time is going by quickly – take action today!

The Mariana Trench Marine National Monument Draft Management Plan is out for public comment until July 26, 2021. Which means as of today, we have about less than a month left to comment on the Plan.

The Monument is not an underwater statue, but rather an ocean sanctuary. In a world brimming with threats to our oceans, the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument is a safe haven for marine life. The amount of untapped resources in the Monument are dwarfed by its untapped potential to advance our understanding of life on Earth. 

And we in the Marianas are its fortuitous guardians.

It is crucial that we use this federal comment period to share our thoughts on the Draft Management Plan. Managing the Trench would simply be incomplete without input from our indigenous people, whose years of knowledge encompass a deep relationship with the ocean.

How do I write a public comment?

Step 1. Get to know the Monument and the Draft Management Plan. Find out how you feel about the federal government’s approach to managing this important marine protected area. You can read more about the Monument here and view the actual Plan here. Our website is another great place to learn about the Draft Management Plan.

Step 2. Check out this sample language to help you get started on writing your public comment. Feel free to use this template and include your own thoughts about the Plan:

“I support the adoption and implementation of a management plan for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. I support the six goals stated in the current plan. The final version should reflect a plan to best achieve and support those goals. 

Throughout the history of the Mariana Islands and its people there has been a tradition of protecting and preserving our ocean to maintain balance and be sure our ocean can heal and continue to provide. The Mariana Trench Marine National Monument and the management plan are an opportunity to continue that tradition. 

[If applicable: As a _________ (indigenous Chamorro/Carolinian/other oceanic people) I support the Monument and the management plan because it aligns with the history of designating sacred and protected spaces to allow our ocean and its creatures a chance to heal.]

It is essential that a final management plan be adopted and implemented, and that it: 

  • Be current and reflect current science and all that we know today, not rely on data from 10 or 15 years ago
  • Ensure accountability and transparency by affording people easy access to information such as permits and guaranteeing local oversight and regular opportunities for evaluation of management actions
  • Be fully accessible to all CNMI communities with summaries and fact sheets translated into Chamorro and Carolinian 

The ocean sanctuary and the management plan will secure an essential lifeblood and provider for all the people of the CNMI and for every generation to come. I encourage the swift adoption and implementation of a plan that aligns with the goals of the draft plan and the priorities listed above.”

Step 3.  Keep track of the Friends of the Mariana Trench’s social media pages. In the very near future we’ll be announcing some opportunities to learn how to submit a public comment on the Plan.

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