NOAA releases draft proposals for new national marine sanctuaries in Wisconsin and Maryland

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.

Wisconsin - Lake Michigan

Wisconsin - Lake Michigan Summary Document

Wisconsin - Lake Michigan Summary Document

Credit: NOAA

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Map of proposed boundaries for Wisconsin - Lake Michigan

Map of proposed boundaries for Wisconsin - Lake Michigan - Alternative A

Credit: NOAA

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Map of proposed boundaries for Wisconsin - Lake Michigan

Map of proposed boundaries for Wisconsin - Lake Michigan - Alternative B

Credit: NOAA

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Northerner shipwreck

Built in 1851, the well-preserved schooner Northerner lies in 130 feet of water.

Credit: Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

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A diver swims over the two masted schooner, Walter B. Allen

An exciting recreational opportunity, a diver swims over the two masted schooner, Walter B. Allen, sunk in 1880.

Credit: Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

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shipwreck schooner, Home

Built in 1843 the schooner, Home, is one of the oldest shipwrecks discovered in Wisconsin.

Credit: Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

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mosaic was created of the schooner, Home

A photomosaic of the schooner Home, made by stitching hundreds of individual images together.

Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

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shipweack vernon

Lake Michigan’s cold, fresh water has kept the steamer Vernon and much of its cargo virtually intact since it’s sinking in 1887 with the loss of 48 lives.

Credit: Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

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shipwreck Rouse Simmons

Bound for Chicago with a hold full of Christmas Trees, the Rouse Simmons was lost with all hands in a November gale in 1912.

Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

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Gallinipper shipwreck

Originally built as the Nancy Dousman in 1832, the schooner Gallinipper is Wisconsin’s oldest shipwrecks discovered to date.

Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

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Gallinipper shipwreck

Trading vessels like the 95-foot long schooner Gallinipper linked Wisconsin coastal cities with distant markets in the 1830s and 1840s, fueling local and regional economies.

Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society

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mosaic of the Walter B. Allen

A photomosaic of the schooner Walter B. Allen.

Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society

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Mallows Bay - Potomac River

Mallows Bay Summary Document

Credit: NOAA

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Map of proposed boundaries for Mallows Bay - Potomac River

Map of proposed boundaries for Mallows Bay - Potomac River - Alternative B

Credit: NOAA

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Map of proposed boundaries for Mallows Bay - Potomac River

Map of proposed boundaries for Mallows Bay - Potomac River - Alternative C - NOAA's preferred alternative

Credit: NOAA

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Map of proposed boundaries for Mallows Bay - Potomac River

Map of proposed boundaries for Mallows Bay - Potomac River - Alternative D

Credit: NOAA

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Benzonia resting on Caribou stern

Benzonia resting on Caribou stern.

Credit: Don Shomette

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Vessel at low tide showing hull frame

Vessel at low tide showing hull frame.

Credit: Don Shomette

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Aerial view of Mallows Bay

Mallows Bay contains more than 100 known and potential shipwrecks.

Credit: Marine Robotics & Remote Sensing, Duke University

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photo of a bald eagle

A bald eagle at Mallows Bay.

Credit: Paula Schiller, courtesy of MDNR

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kayakers in Mallows Bay

Kayakers explore the nooks and waters of Mallows Bay.

Credit: Kimberly Hernandez, MDNR Chesapeake and Coastal Service

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nesting pair of osprey

An osprey pair in a nest atop a shipwreck in Mallows Bay.

Credit: Daryl Byrd, courtesy of MDNR

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Aerial view of Mallows Bay

Aerial view of Mallows Bay.

Credit: Don Shomette

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The Ghost Fleet grounded in Mallows Bay, circa 1925.

Credit: Don Shomette

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ship hull with a tree growing out of it

Ship hulls have provided the structure for ecologically-important habitats.

Credit: Don Shomette

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wildlife sign at mallows bay

Mallows Bay is home to abundant wildlife including Bald Eagles, Great Blue Heron, and Osprey.

Credit: Don Shomette

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scenes from the mallow bay video

Mallows Bay video Secrets of the Chesapeake.

Credit: Maryland Public Television

www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/mallows-bay