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Sanctuaries Lead Effort to Designate Preserve America Communities
he Office of National Marine Sanctuaries coordinates NOAA's effort for the national Preserve America program to recognize communities that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. Since its conception in 2003, nearly 800 communities across the nation have been designated as Preserve America Communities, about 100 of which are located along the coast.

Coastal communities are the beginning places of American history, and the national marine sanctuaries are natural vehicles for telling these compelling stories. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has assisted nearly 20 of these communities in achieving Preserve America designation, including two in 2009: the county of Kauai, which borders the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and Falmouth, Mass., adjacent to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, through the work of Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary staff, America Samoa is pending designation in 2010.

National marine sanctuaries are places to explore, discover and 
appreciate our country's maritime and cultural heritage. This 
rich history comes in many forms, including shipwrecks and 
prehistoric archaeological sites, archival documents, oral histories, and the traditions of indigenous cultures. Through the 
study, protection and promotion of this diverse legacy, sanctuaries help Americans become engaged in the stewardship of our 
shared maritime past.

African-American Divers Explore Seafaring History Through Underwater Archaeology Training

old shipIn summer 2009, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Maritime Heritage Program supported Nautical Archaeology Society training sessions in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for members of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) and sanctuary staff. The course is designed to teach principles and practices of maritime archaeology, and participants learned how to identify cultural resource sites and conduct underwater mapping, conservation and reporting. The course included classroom activities and field sessions at the City of Washington shipwreck on the sanctuary's Shipwreck Trail. The training for NABS members is part of a new Office of National Marine Sanctuaries education initiative called "Voyage to Discovery," which will explore the maritime heritage of African-Americans and engage communities in marine conservation. Graduates of the training are expected to take part in future field work through the Voyage to Discovery program.

Joffre Shipwreck Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary successfully nominated the sunken re- mains of the Joffre to the National Register of Historic Places in March 2009. The Joffre is an early 20th-century fishing vessel that represents a period of tremendous technological changes in New England's fishing industry. The 105-foot vessel was launched as a schooner in 1918 from Essex, Mass., and converted in 1939 into a motorized eastern-rig dragger, a type of trawler. The Joffre caught fire and sank in 1947 off Gloucester, Mass. During its 29 years of service, its crew landed over 15 million pounds of fish. Scientists from NOAA and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut first documented the shipwreck in 2006 with a remotely operated vehicle. The vessel is the first of its kind to be listed on the National Register, the United States' list of historic properties worthy of preservation. The Joffre joins four other shipwrecks in the Stellwagen Bank sanctuary already on the National Register.

Archaeological Study Investigates Early Inhabitants of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

hawaiiPapahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument archaeologists spent nearly three weeks in August 2009 on isolated, wind-swept Mokumanamana (Necker Island) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. This survey of cultural resources on the island was the most extensive in more than 85 years. The island had no inhabitants when the first Europeans rediscovered it, categorizing it as a "mystery island," but there was evidence of prior human occupation. The archaeological research will help reveal who lived on the island, when and for how long. Researchers are working to determine whether basalt artifacts from Mokumanamana were made locally or brought to the island, suggesting a connection to other Pacific islands. One exciting discovery made during the expedition was a rare "Necker Island stone image," a collection of which was first rediscovered in 1894.

Sanctuary Expedition discovers Navy Patrol Boat Sunk in WWII

During a summer 2009 research expedition, NOAA archaeologists discovered the remains of a lost U.S. Navy vessel, the YP-389, just four miles from Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. The shipwreck's discovery was the result of a collaboration involving staff from the Monitor sanctuary, East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Branch. The team explored the wreck site using a remotely operated vehicle and, with the aid of archival photographs and historical records, positively identified the ship as the YP-389. This U.S. Navy vessel's final resting place had been unknown since it was sunk during World War II in 1942 by the German submarine U-701.

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