The Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has launched a draft proposal for a nationwide marine sanctuary in japanese Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands area of the St. Lawrence River. The proposed sanctuary designation celebrates Upstate New York’s distinctive maritime heritage and offers a nationwide stage for selling the area’s tourism and leisure alternatives.NOAA is proposing to designate as much as a 1,786-square mile space of Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands area adjoining to Jefferson, Wayne, Oswego, Cayuga, and St. Lawrence counties within the state of New York that serves as a gateway between the Nice Lakes and the ocean. The nominated space incorporates 64 identified shipwrecks and one plane representing occasions spanning greater than 200 years of our nation’s historical past. Primarily based on historic information, an extra 20 shipwrecks and three plane could also be situated there.The New York State Division of State, Workplace of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the New York State Museum applaudedthe proposed plan. New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado stated, “The Division of State is proud to collaborate with NOAA and our State company companions on recognizing the nationally-significant assets beneath Lake Ontario’s waters. The Sanctuary designation offers much-needed nationwide recognition for the area’s world-class maritime historical past and assets at a time when many Lake Ontario communities are nonetheless recovering from current occasions. I’m grateful for the dedication of our group members taking part within the Sanctuary Advisory Council who drafted a strong administration plan and proceed to advise NOAA. I encourage everybody to take part and study extra as a result of your enter is important to growing a sanctuary that advantages all of our Nice Lakes coastal communities.”New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid stated, “OPRHP acknowledges the numerous efforts of NOAA and members of the Sanctuary Advisory Council to ship the proposed nationwide marine sanctuary designation draft for public remark. Jap Lake Ontario is wealthy in maritime historical past and marine archaeological assets and this sanctuary designation seeks to guard and amplify that historical past to the good thing about native and regional economies. OPRHP seems to be ahead to listening carefully to this subsequent spherical of public remark and encourages New York State residents to actively interact within the public remark interval.”New York State Schooling Commissioner Betty A. Rosa stated, “This nationwide marine sanctuary designation will rejoice the world’s distinctive and wealthy maritime heritage. The New York State Museum appreciates and helps the designation as it should protect the distinctive archeological assets of this space for the encompassing communities, and offers beneficial alternatives for analysis and academic programming.”The sanctuary nomination originated as community-based initiative and continues to be regionally pushed. Submitted in 2017 by the Counties of Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga, and Wayne, and the Metropolis of Oswego and supported by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the nomination laid the groundwork to offer larger protections for these well-preserved shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. NOAA has continued to maintain native consultants and the group’s needs front-and-center by establishing a “pre-designation” sanctuary advisory council to assist inform the designation course of and focus stakeholder participation.Sometimes called underwater parks, this nationwide marine sanctuary would improve many present state and federal protections for shipwrecks with out limiting makes use of like fishing, boating, and delivery. The sanctuary designation would additionally convey new alternatives for analysis, academic programming, group engagement, and financial improvement. If designated, New York State and NOAA would co-manage the sanctuary.Earlier than any additional motion is taken, NOAA is searching for public suggestions. NOAA is internet hosting 4 public conferences in August to offer extra data on the draft proposal and gather public feedback. For extra data on the proposed sanctuary and to submit feedback, see the Federal Register discover: NOAA-NOS-2021-0050.The draft proposal will be discovered on-line right here.Maps of proposed Nationwide Marine Sanctuary on Lake Ontario supplied.