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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 19, 2013

Contact:
Stephanie Gandulla
(989) 464-1297

Maritime archeological resources in Thunder Bay
National Marine Sanctuary in good condition

Today, NOAA released the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report that describes the state of the sanctuary's resources and pressures that affect their scientific integrity and recreational value. Overall, the condition of the sanctuary's maritime archaeological resources is considered to be "good."

This report provides an important baseline on the status of sanctuary marine resources and will help inform future resource protection initiatives. It is one of an ongoing series of condition reports for all national marine sanctuaries.

"This report is our first attempt to comprehensively describe the status, pressures and trends of resources in the sanctuary," said Russ Green, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary deputy superintendent. "Additionally, the report helps identify gaps in current research efforts and will provide guidance for future management challenges."

Management actions such as installation of mooring buoys, public education outreach programs and specialized training for divers were shown to have helped reduce human impacts on fragile sanctuary resources. However, the report also notes that challenges remain, including impacts from invasive species such as zebra mussels.

NOAA prepared the condition report in consultation with outside experts from the scientific community. The full report is available online here.

The sanctuary works with a wide array of state, academic and local partners, to help sustain healthy environments that are the foundation for thriving communities and stable economies in northeast Michigan. The sanctuary is an anchor for heritage tourism, a haven for divers, kayakers and snorkelers, and a hub for NOAA and other research conducted in Lake Huron.

Designated in 2000, the 448-square-mile Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects a nationally significant collection of historic shipwrecks and related maritime cultural resources in northern Lake Huron. Through public education and resource protection programs, the sanctuary works to ensure that these important historic, archaeological and recreational sites are preserved for future generations.

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