National Marine Sanctuary Update

Written by: Rolf Johnson, Wisconsin Maritime Mueseum

As many of you know, Manitowoc and Two Rivers are involved in a state-wide effort to establish a new National Marine Sanctuary off our coast. This effort, which also involves the cities of Port Washington and Sheboygan, began several years ago with the work of the state’s underwater archaeologists, who identified the shipwrecks in this part of Lake Michigan as having national significance. Our Wisconsin sanctuary is now getting closer to becoming a reality.

Administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sanctuary system preserves nationally significant resources, including unique aquatic ecosystems and shipwrecks. It is the many archaeologically and culturally significant shipwrecks in this region of the Lake that lie at the heart of our effort.

Wisconsin has continued to advance its cause in meaningful ways, including on-going work with our elected officials in Washington, DC and with NOAA staff. A diverse, public-private “Sanctuary Working Group” – composed of stakeholders from the State and the four cities involved in this effort – is also meeting on a regular basis to discuss strategy and required tactical steps moving forward. We have been informed that we should hear significant news regarding the status of our efforts this fall. NOAA is already preparing to hold community information sessions here; a required part of the process to move our nomination forward. Key to all of this is community support, including the support of local businesses. A more detailed update will be provided along with the opportunity for Chamber members to weigh-in with their comments and questions on Monday, September 14, for Business Connects with Government Luncheon.


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