To: Penny S. Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce, NOAA National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and President Donald Trump

Create the First-Ever Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean

Please take action to protect all five of New England's "Grand Canyons" (Oceanographer, Gilbert, Lydonia, Nygren and Heezen), four offshore seamounts (Bear, Physalia, Mytilus and Retriever) and the Cashes Ledge Closed Area as a national monument. These unique undersea treasures would become the first marine national monument in the Atlantic and would build on America's global leadership in ocean protection.

This historic monument designation will permanently protect a treasure trove of unique and irreplaceable ecosystems that provide refuge for hundreds of species of marine wildlife, including whales, seabirds and long-living cold-water corals. These places are also critical habitat for ocean fish like Atlantic cod, which are the lifeblood of coastal communities and New England's rich culture and traditions. Protecting them will help rebuild these fish populations and the healthy ocean ecosystems we all use and enjoy.

New England's ocean wilderness refuges, with their rich biodiversity and largely unexplored beauty, will be lost forever unless they're protected now. Hundreds of leading scientists agree that keeping these places free from commercial activities that extract resources or harm habitat is critical to reverse the decline of the marine environment and restore its health. Research shows that marine reserves are essential to rebuilding species abundance and diversity and increasing resilience to climate change.

Our ocean treasures--especially amazing places like New England's Grand Canyons, sea mountains and Cashes Ledge--are important to all Americans. As the nation with the largest exclusive economic zone in the world, the United States has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to be a global leader in protecting our oceans. While NOAA's recently announced town hall meeting to be held in Providence, Rhode Island, on September 15, 2015, invites discussion of permanent protections for three deep-sea canyons--Oceanographer, Gilbert and Lydonia Canyons--and four seamounts off of New England's coast, we must protect all five offshore Grand Canyons, including Nygren and Heezen, and New England's unique nearshore mountain range, the Cashes Ledge Closed Area. We need to save all of these important places before irreparable damage is done so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy a healthy marine environment.

Please protect New England's Grand Canyons, sea mountains and Cashes Ledge as a national monument today.

Why is this important?

Just off the shores of New England, a fragile undersea mountain range brimming with rare marine wildlife—critically endangered North Atlantic right whales—is threatened with destruction.

But there’s a chance to save it. Tell the Obama administration to make history and create the first-ever marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

New England’s “Grand Canyons,” sea mountains, and Cashes Ledge are national treasures. These precious ecosystems provide refuge for hundreds of species of rare and unique marine wildlife. These areas are also critical to the health of our ocean fish, the lifeblood of Atlantic coastal communities.

Earthjustice has been fighting to protect our ocean ecosystems and we need your help!

Unfortunately, these fragile undersea places are threatened with destruction from overfishing and industrial exploitation, as the deep ocean has become more accessible to drilling, mining and damaging commercial fishing. Leading scientists agree, now is the time to protect New England’s Grand Canyons, sea mountains and Cashes Ledge before it’s too late.

Overwhelming public support is needed to persuade the Obama administration to protect these special places with a marine national monument designation. Send a message now to weigh in on this important decision.