Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Unveils Redesigned Shipwreck Exhibit
In June 2008, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary unveiled its Exploring the Shipwreck Century exhibit at NOAA's Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Mich. Two years in the making, the 9,000-square-foot exhibit reveals the secrets of Thunder Bay's nearly 200 shipwrecks and NOAA's role in protecting America's maritime heritage. The exhibit's centerpiece is a full-size replica of a storm-tossed Great Lakes schooner making its way into Thunder Bay in the 1880s. Visitors can explore the ship's deck and cabin, then move on and find themselves amidst the remains of replica shipwreck on the bottom of Thunder Bay - complete with clear climbing tubes overhead that provide a "diver's eye view" of the wreck. Visitors will also find hundreds shipwreck artifacts on display, as well as both traditional and interactive exhibit components. Future plans call for the re-installation of NOAA's Science on a Sphere exhibit, as well as a live video feed to one of the sanctuary's most popular shipwrecks. Click here for more information.
Sanctuary Staff, Volunteers Respond to Cosco Busan Oil Spill
On Nov. 7, 2007, the container ship Cosco Busan rammed the San Francisco Bay Bridge and spilled over 53,000 gallons oil into San Francisco Bay, impacting Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries. The Farallones sanctuary immediately deployed staff and trained volunteers from its Beach Watch program to assist with the spill response, surveying beaches for oiling and wildlife mortality starting first thing the following morning. Monterey Bay and Cordell Bank sanctuary personnel also dedicated numerous hours of staff time to the response efforts, assisting in the incident command center and providing support for damage assessment and other field activities by Farallones sanctuary staff. During a Nov. 19 congressional subcommittee hearing regarding the oil spill, the Farallones Beach Watch program was twice singled out for praise for its role in the response efforts. Today, the Office of Marine Sanctuaries continues to be involved in natural resources damage assessment in the affected area and surveillance of beaches for evidence of further oil spread. Click here for more information.
Farallones Sanctuary Takes First Steps to Address Ocean Climate Change
In April 2008, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary held the inaugural Biennial Ocean Climate Summit for the Bay Area's coast and ocean. The summit brought together science and policy experts and community stakeholders to address climate change impacts and explore partnerships to enhance management, research and public outreach efforts. Over 100 participants representing federal, state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations, and academic institutions throughout the region attended the summit, along with numerous staff from across the National Marine Sanctuary System. In addition to the summit, the sanctuary is working to develop an Ocean Climate Action Plan for the Bay Area marine environment. For the summit proceedings and more information click here.
Media Coverage Value Exceeds $23 Million for Sanctuaries in FY 2008
National marine sanctuaries work with media to inform millions of Americans about programs, missions, research and discoveries through print and electronic news coverage. Topics in 2008 that captured the attention of the news media and the public included shipwreck discoveries in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument; sanctuary staff and volunteer response to the Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay; the "Battle of the Atlantic" expedition to document World War II U-boat wrecks off North Carolina; an "Immersion Presents" expedition in Monterey Bay; and the results of the "SPLASH" humpback whale population study. Total media coverage in FY08 exceeded 673,300,000 impressions, for a comparable advertising value of more than $23 million. Millions more learned about sanctuary news through online resources.
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, California Academy of Sciences Debut Major Farallones Exhibit
At the California Academy of Sciences' grand reopening in September 2008, the Academy unveiled a new three-story, 100,000-gallon "California Coast" tank highlighting the habitats of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Constructed in partnership with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the exhibit showcases the marine animals and plants of the California Current ecosystem, focusing on the Farallones sanctuary's rich and diverse rocky intertidal zone. An estimated 1.2 million people are expected to visit the Academy every year and learn how the sanctuary system protects its valuable natural, cultural and historical resources. In addition to the exhibit, the Farallones sanctuary and the Academy are training 500 docents to be interpreters on the sanctuary reefs as well as at the exhibit, promoting enjoyment of intertidal habitats without harming marine life.Click here for more information.