The Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act was signed into law in 1972. The resulting National Marine Sanctuary System (NMSS) currently consists of 14 marine protected areas that encompass more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington State to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The NMSS is charged with preserving, studying, and interpreting the Nation’s most valued marine natural and cultural resources. It also has a responsibility to preserve and analyze its own history, maintaining a thorough, accurate record of its policies, decisions, and activities. The 50th anniversary, in 2022, provides an ideal opportunity to both reflect on and learn from the past and prepare to move forward toward the century mark in 2072. To do so requires the preparation of an administrative history of the sanctuary system.
Decision-makers and the general public are best served with a full understanding of this storied system: who lead the charge, what goals they had in mind, where this has been implemented, how the sanctuary system evolved, and why certain decisions were made. This will help us learn from past mistakes, build on past successes, and develop a plan for navigating an increasingly complicated future. Administrative histories are the most effective way to convey this knowledge, providing an accurate, thorough, and well-written account of the origin and evolution of each site in the sanctuary system, and the system as a whole. Administrative histories should meet the same standards of scholarship that apply to published academic histories: thorough research, objective analysis, and peer review.
The volunteer intern(s) will join a team of NOAA staff and other volunteers to produce the first administrative history of the sanctuary system, a book that we hope will be published by an academic press in time for the 50th anniversary in 2022 or before. Depending on qualifications and interests, the volunteer intern can expect to contribute substantively to one or more chapters in the book.