National Marine Sanctuary: Monitor
In 1972, exactly one hundred years after the first national park was created, the nation made a similar commitment to preserving its marine treasures by establishing the National Marine Sanctuary Program through the authority of the National Marine Sanctuary Act of 1972, 16 U.S.C. § 1431 et seq.
On January 30, 1975, the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS) was designated our nation's first national marine sanctuary. Today, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington State to the Florida Keys and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and two monuments, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Rose Atoll Marine National Monument.
Overall, the mission of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) is to serve as the trustee for the nation's system of marine protected areas, to conserve, protect, and enhance their biodiversity, ecological integrity and cultural legacy. ONMS also fosters public awareness of marine resources and maritime heritage through scientific research, monitoring, exploration, education and outreach. To accomplish their mission, ONMS works with many partners and the public, while encouraging recreational and commercial activities that are sustainable and compatible with long-term preservation.