Skip to content

New Ocean Conservation Priorities that Deliver on the Promise of America the Beautiful

Explore the report and interactive website

At Marine Conservation Institute we’re always looking for ways to highlight important ocean conservation initiatives in the US and around the world.

Working to strengthen marine sanctuaries here in the US and raising the stature of the world’s best marine protected areas with our Blue Parks and Blue Sparks awards is key to our goal of protecting the ocean’s most important places for current and future generations. When we had the chance to help create a StoryMap—an online interactive website—that celebrates community-driven efforts in the US, we were excited to help. Today, that story map highlighting the efforts of eight Indigenous, Tribal, and community-led groups around the country is ready to spread the good news about efforts to create new areas and strengthen existing ones to protect our coasts, preserve marine life, and fight the impacts of climate change.

Launching the same week as the fifth US National Climate Assessment, which paints a comprehensive picture of increasing climate change impacts in the US, and about one month before a convening of worldwide leaders will discuss the fight against global climate change at COP 28—this new report and website on areas that will help the US fight climate change is important. We need those places to be designated, protected, and managed for conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Shortly after the Biden-Harris administration was sworn in, it made historic commitments to equitably mitigate the adverse impacts of a changing climate and to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters. Called the America the Beautiful Initiative, these commitments are beginning to create and strengthen ocean protection as a key climate solution. The new report and StoryMap demonstrate how these diverse places will deliver on climate-focused marine conservation if they come to fruition. 

From the Florida Keys to Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain, Tribal, Indigenous, and community-led proposals provide a unique opportunity to address the climate crisis and ensure that all people can benefit from an effective, inclusive, and representative system of coastal and marine protected areas.

Coastal and marine protected areas create a series of interconnected benefits: They are a bulwark against climate change, absorbing carbon emissions and buffering shifting coastlines. They are a refuge for wildlife, protecting the beautiful diversity of marine ecosystems. They are sometimes sacred sites for Indigenous and Tribal communities, preserving culture and heritage. They are laboratories for scientific research on climate change, improving understanding of biodiversity; and some are outdoor destinations just like national parks, providing spaces for tourism and recreation. 

For years, Tribal and Indigenous communities and other local community leaders have proposed and stewarded conservation actions for our ocean and coasts. Grounded in science, culture, history, and economics, these actions are broadly supported and can contribute significantly toward the President’s commitment to protect at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, ensure equitable access to nature, and act on climate. Implementing these proposals would also deliver on the Administration’s stated commitment to supporting locally-led and Indigenous-led conservation actions.

Explore the report and interactive map to learn more about each of the eight proposals, specific recommendations from local community leaders, and how you can take action to support them.