COAST Student Internships Summer 2022


NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries​

West Coast Region​​​​​

Ocean Policy


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 sanctuary 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 with possible travel within California. Participation may be remote if WCRO staff are working remotely during the timeframe of the internship.  

Internship Dates: June 1 - August 16, 2022; start and end dates are flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments.

Stipend: $6,000. Up to $2,000 in additional funding will be available to students who must relocate to participate in the internship.​​​

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 ocean policy. This could entail evaluating and compiling information for a potential new national marine sanctuary designation; developing a scope of work for a soundscape analysis; writing an outline for a World Heritage Site nomination for the California Current Conservation Complex (Complex); or assisting with enforcement incident database development. For each of these projects, the individual will work closely with sanctuary staff.​

Project Responsibilities: The intern may work on any of the projects listed below. It is reasonable that the intern may work on up to two of the projects simultaneously. Project selection will be based on the intern’s interests and sanctuary staff’s most pressing needs. 

  1. Help research, review and edit draft designation documents for a proposed new national marine sanctuary. 
    • In November 2021, ONMS initiated a process to consider designating a portion of waters along and offshore of the central coast of California as a national marine sanctuary. Staff will begin drafting the designation documents for this proposed sanctuary, incorporating comments received from the public during an 81-day public comment period. 
    • The intern will assist with outreach to various constituent groups for a proposed new national marine sanctuary management plan.​​
  2. Work with the WCRO Soundscape Team to develop a scope of work for a sou​ndscape analysis and/or work plan within various sites along the west coast. 
    • Stationary sound moorings and noise reference stations have been deployed throughout west coast sanctuaries. Each stationary sound mooring has co-located temperature sensors, and there are five moorings with co-located acoustic telemetry receivers to track fish species of interest. In addition, there are several other noise listening stations operated by partner entities. 
    • The intern will help characterize existing sound work within west coast sanctuaries by compiling sound data collected in each sanctuary along with the results of each project, management needs addressed, investment/cost, and field notes. ​​
  3. Work with the Regional Policy Coordinator to develop an outline for a World Heritage nomination for the Complex. 
    • A central element of the Complex is a contiguous group of three federally-designated marine protected areas extending from Point Arena, in Mendocino County, south to Cambria, in San Luis Obispo County. The site has been accepted by UNESCO to the Tentative List and the next step is to seek nomination, which requires significant documentation. The next phase is to develop a detailed outline for preparation of the required documents.​​
  4. Assist the Regional Enforcement Coordinator with database development and management of enforcement incidents across west coast sanctuaries. 
    • Regional Enforcement Coordinators have tracked enforcement incidents (any violation of a sanctuary regulation that has been reported to sanctuary staff) using a macro-enabled Excel spreadsheet since 2015. WCRO would like to create a Google Form that populates a Google Sheet and plots a point on a map to better track enforcement incidents. ​​
  5. 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, partners and sanctuary colleagues. Also important is the ability to effectively manage multiple projects. Very strong writing skills are 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, and possibly in person.

Eligibility/Requirements: This internship is geared toward upper class (seniors) and graduate students. Intern must be at least 18 years old and must be a U.S. citizen. The intern must pass a federal background investigation, including fingerprints. 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 may be required if public health conditions allow.​ ​​​Applicants are also subject to gener​al eligibility requirements.


Return to Announcement for Application and Addition​al Require​ments​​​