NOAA is soliciting public input on draft proposals for two new national marine sanctuaries in Wisconsin and Maryland that would protect nationally-significant shipwrecks. The proposed sanctuaries were recommended to NOAA in 2014 and would be the first designated since 2000.
In Wisconsin, NOAA is proposing to designate a 1,075-square mile area of Lake Michigan adjacent to Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Ozaukee counties. The nominated area contains 37 known shipwrecks and about 80 potential shipwrecks. The shipwrecks represent a cross-section of vessel types that played critical roles in the settlement and development of the Midwest during the 19th and early-20th centuries.
In Maryland, NOAA is proposing a national marine sanctuary along a 52-square-mile stretch of the tidal Potomac River adjacent to Charles County. The area contains more than 100 known and potential shipwrecks, including the remains of “Ghost Fleet” vessels built as part of America’s engagement in World War I. Sites related to the region’s Native American cultures and maritime battlefields from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars also are included in the proposed sanctuary.
The public comment period ends March 31, 2017.