Posted by Steve Lettau on Jun 30, 2021

In October 2015, in response to a community-based sanctuary nomination, NOAA announced its intent to designate a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan to conserve a collection of nationally-significant shipwrecks. In June 2020, with input from the public, industry stakeholders, and in close consultation with the state of Wisconsin, NOAA published a final environmental impact statement and final management plan for the proposed Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA has now published a final rule designating the sanctuary.

The 962-square-mile Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary will protect 36 shipwrecks that possess exceptional historic, archaeological, and recreational value. Historical research suggests that nearly 60 shipwrecks are yet to be discovered in the sanctuary.

Co-managed with the state of Wisconsin, the sanctuary will expand on the state's 30-year stewardship of these historic sites, bringing new opportunities for research, resource protection, educational programming, and community engagement. In partnership with local communities, the sanctuary will provide a national stage for promoting heritage tourism and recreation.