The Biden administration on Tuesday said it was taking steps to designate a national marine sanctuary off the coast of central California.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of safeguarding 30% of U.S. land and water over the next decade.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said the proposal would protect a 7,000-square-mile area.
The waters are important to the heritage of the Native American Chumash people who once lived in coastal villages that are now submerged. The protected area would be known as the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.
They are adjacent to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and near a 399-square-mile area the administration identified this year for offshore wind development.
NOAA is accepting public comments on the proposal until Jan. 10.