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COAST Student Internships Summer 2020

​Office of National Marine Sanctuaries 

West Coast Region

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary​ Nomination​ Internship 


Host: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS)​, a branch of NOAA, is responsible for managing 15 special marine protected areas designated by the federal government. The West Coast Regional Office (WCRO) manages 15,333 square miles of marine protected areas around Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones, Monterey Bay and Olympic Coast. Each of the five west coast national marine sanctuaries is a jewel unto itself. Yet each of our sanctuaries is intimately connected not only with the others, but also to the entire coast from Alaska to Baja and to the far reaches of the world ocean via ocean currents. The WCRO coordinates programs and initiatives that affect resources within and beyond the boundaries of the five west coast national marine sanctuaries to ensure natural and cultural resources are protected while allowing uses that are sustainable.  

Location: Based in Monterey (map​) with possible travel to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and national marine sanctuaries within California. 

Internship Dates: May 18 – August 21, 2020; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments.

Stipend: $6,000

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation or illness. If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be prorated.

Position Description and Responsibilities: One internship (1) is offered with the WCRO to work side-by-side with the director, policy coordinator and sanctuary staff on a project focused on evaluating and compiling new information for a national marine sanctuary nomination. In 2014, NOAA re-established a process by which communities could nominate marine or Great Lakes areas for NOAA to consider for designation as national marine sanctuaries (www.nominate.noaa.gov). In order to be accepted to the inventory of areas that NOAA may consider for future designation, nominations need to be responsive to NOAA’s national significance criteria and management consideration. Nominations on the inventory expire after five years, unless NOAA in advance of the five-year mark determines a nomination is still responsive to the nomination criteria and management considerations. The purpose of this project is to collect and analyze relevant information to update the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary (CHNMS) nomination, which was accepted to the inventory on October 5, 2015. The nominated CHNMS is situated off the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties between Cambria and Gaviota, CA.

Project Responsibilities: ​

  1. Help organize and conduct two public workshops to solicit information to update the national significance criteria and management considerations for the CHNMS nomination. The public will also be able to submit comments and information via a government web portal. The selected intern will be responsible for tracking, organizing, and analyzing all submitted information and public comments.      
  2. Coordinate with the Northern Chumash Tribal Council (lead nominator) and other nominators to solicit updates for the CHNMS nomination. 
  3. Develop web site content for the WCRO website to educate the public about the sanctuary nomination process and the CHNMS nomination. ​
  4. Produce a report that summarizes any new information for the CHNMS nomination and produce an update to the CHNMS nomination. The updated nomination will be submitted to the ONMS director in late August 2020 for a decision prior to October 5, 2020.  
  5. Assist the WCRO director and staff with other ongoing projects, such as evaluating ecosystem status and trends of the Bering Sea for the St. George Unangan Heritage National Marine Sanctuary nomination; developing a proposal for the UNESCO World Heritage nomination for the California Current Conservation Complex; and producing deep sea coral outreach and education products for national marine sanctuary units on the west coast.  
  6. Work as an effective member of the WCR by participating in regular meetings, and contributing to various reporting requirements (e.g., weekly accomplishment reports).​ 

​Preferred Experience and Capabilities: Skilled in environmental or biological science, environmental policies and regulations of marine protected areas; ideally experienced in marine resource management. The successful candidate must be highly organized with the ability to work independently as well as within a team setting, and able to effectively communicate (orally, in person, or on the phone, and in writing) with researchers, educators and sanctuary colleagues. Also important is the ability to effectively manage multiple projects. Very strong writing skills are required. Skill in GIS techniques is desired but not required.

Skills Gained: The intern will learn about how the United States manages its national marine sanctuaries, as well as how to incorporate complex scientific concepts into resource protection and management strategies. The intern will learn how to operate within a small professional office and interact with colleagues remotely.

Eligibility/Requirements: This internship is geared toward upperclass (seniors) and graduate students. Intern must be at least 18 years old and must have a valid driver’s license. The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with WCRO and sanctuary staff, and partners throughout California. Travel to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties is required. Applicants are also subject to general eligibility requirements.


Return to Announcement for Application and Additional Requirements​​