Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Marine Sanctuary System manages and protects 14 specially designated areas of the nation's oceans and Great Lakes for their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, cultural, archeological, scientific, educational, or esthetic qualities.
Authority: National Marine Sanctuaries Act (pdf)
National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of protected areas established for long-term research, education and stewardship. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a federal-state partnership.
Authority: Coastal Zone Management Act
Office of Sustainable Fisheries (National Marine Fisheries Service) works with Regional Fishery Management Councils to maintain healthy stocks, eliminate overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks and increase long-term economic and social benefits to the nation from living marine resources.
Authority: Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act
Office of Protected Resources provides program oversight, national policy direction, and guidance on the conservation of those marine mammals and endangered species, and their habitats, under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Commerce; develops national guidelines and policies for relevant protected resources programs; and provides oversight, advice and guidance on scientific aspects of managing protected species and marine protected areas.
Authorities: Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act
Department of the Interior
National Park Service (NPS) serves as guardian of 387 units in the National Park System. More than 40 contain portions of the sea and Great Lakes encompassing 3 million acres of ocean and coastal waters and more than 4,000 miles of coastline within their boundaries. NPS works with public and private partners to care for diverse natural, cultural and recreational resources, and conserves them for the enjoyment of current and future generations.
Authority: National Park Service Organic Act
The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages over 150 million acres. Of the 550 units in the Refuge System, 180 protect ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes habitats and resources.
Authority: National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act
Marine National Monuments
Four very large marine national monuments in the Pacific are managed by NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, Buck Island Reef National Monument and the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument protect key reef areas in the Caribbean.
Authority: Antiquities Act