Thunder Bay Map

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

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Condition Summary Table

The following table summarizes the "State of Sanctuary Resources" section of this report. The first two columns list 17 questions used to rate the condition and trends for qualities of water, habitat, living resources and maritime archaeological resources. The Rating column consists of a color, indicating resource condition, and a symbol, indicating trend (see key for definitions). The Basis for Judgment column provides a short statement or list of criteria used to justify the rating. The Description of Findings column presents the statement that best characterizes resource status, and corresponds to the assigned color rating. The Description of Findings statements are customized for all possible ratings for each question. Please see Appendix A for further clarification of the questions and the Description of Findings statements. The Response column describes current or proposed management responses to pressures impacting sanctuary resources.

This condition report reflects Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary's management focus on maritime archaeological resources, chiefly historic shipwrecks. Consequently, this condition report does not directly address other aspects of the ecosystem (e.g., habitat and living resource quality). Exceptions, however, occur when there is a causal relationship between maritime archaeological resources and the ecosystem (e.g., the colonization of shipwrecks by non-indigenous mussels). It should also be noted that although the sanctuary does not manage non-archaeological resources, it does encourage, facilitate and participate in a wide range of multidisciplinary research, monitoring and data acquisition efforts (see Response section).

FAQ

About This
Report

Summary & Findings

What is System Wide Monitoring?

History and Resources

Pressures on the Sanctuary

State of Sanctuary Resources

Response to Pressures

Acknowledgements

Rating Criteria

References

Developing the Report

Appendix C

Download This Report

  Questions/ Resources Rating Basis For Judgment Description Findings Sanctuary Response
WATER
1. Are specific or multiple stressors, including changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, affecting water quality and how are they changing?
?
Invasive zebra and quagga mussels have altered water quality; ice coverage has declined and water levels have fluctuated. Changes in water quality could negatively impact public access to sanctuary resources. Selected conditions may degrade maritime archaeological resources, but are not likely to cause substantial or persistent declines. Although the sanctuary exclusively manages maritime archaeological resources, it supports and facilitates multidisciplinary research aimed at better understanding the natural resources of Thunder Bay and Lake Huron. Some of these efforts may lead to a better understanding of water quality in and around the sanctuary.
2. What is the eutrophic condition of sanctuary waters and how is it changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Algal blooms that lead to beach closures and reduced water quality could negatively impact the public's access to sanctuary resources. Selected conditions may cause measurable but not severe declines in maritime archaeological resources.
3. Do sanctuary waters pose risks to human health and how are they changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Documented swimming advisories and beach closures may limit the public's access to sanctuary resources. Selected conditions that have the potential to affect human health may exist, but human impacts have not been reported.
4. What are the levels of human activities that may influence water quality and how are they changing?
conditions appear to be improving
Few point sources, however, nonpoint sources can occur after heavy rain. Poor water quality could limit the public's access to sanctuary resources. Description of Findings cell: Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on water quality.
HABITAT
5. What are the abundance and distribution of major habitat types and how are they changing?
N/A
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary regulations specify the management of maritime archaeological resources. For this reason, Questions 5 - 8 were deemed "not applicable." N/A Although the sanctuary exclusively manages maritime archaeological resources, it supports and facilitates multidisciplinary research aimed at better understanding the natural resources of Thunder Bay and Lake Huron. Some of these efforts may lead to a better understanding of habitat quality in and around the sanctuary.
6. What is the condition of biologically structured habitats and how is it changing?
N/A
N/A
7. What are the contaminant concentrations in sanctuary habitats and how are they changing?
N/A
N/A
8. What are the levels of human activities that may influence habitat quality and how are they changing?
N/A
N/A
LIVING RESOURCES
9.What is the status of biodiversity and how is it changing?
N/A
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary regulations specify the management of maritime archaeological resources. For this reason, Questions 9 & 10 were deemed "not applicable." N/A Although the sanctuary only manages maritime archaeological resources, it supports and facilitates multidisciplinary research aimed at better understanding the natural resources of Thunder Bay and Lake Huron. Some of these efforts may lead to a better understanding of living resources (particularly invasive mussels) in and around the sanctuary.
10. What is the status of environmentally sustainable fishing and how is it changing?
N/A
N/A
11. What is the status of non-indigenous species and how is it changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Zebra and quagga mussel colonization is causing archaeological resources to deteriorate and hinders the ability to accurately and precisely conduct archaeological documentation. Non-indigenous species have caused or are likely to cause severe declines in maritime archaeological resources.
12. What is the status of key species and how is it changing?
N/A
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary regulations specify the management of maritime archaeological resources. For this reason, Questions 12 & 13 were deemed "not applicable." N/A
13. What is the condition or health of key species and how is it changing?
N/A
N/A
14. What are the levels of human activities that may influence living resource quality and how are they changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
The original vector for invasion is not likely to affect the future of existing mussels, but could introduce other non-indigenous species. Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on maritime archaeological resources.
MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
15. What is the integrity of known maritime archaeological resources and how is it changing?
conditions appear to be declining
Mussel colonization and natural deterioration will persist, but resulting declines in integrity are slow. Management actions have slowed diver and boating impacts. Selected archaeological resources exhibit indications of disturbance, but there appears to have been little or no reduction in historical, scientific or educational value. The sanctuary assesses and documents maritime archaeological resources to establish each site's current state of preservation and to create a baseline for monitoring future impacts. The sanctuary maintains a growing number of moorings at sanctuary shipwrecks, and conducts effective education and outreach programs aimed at fostering a greater preservation ethic among divers and the public.
16. Do known maritime archaeological resources pose an environmental hazard and is this threat changing?
Conditions do not appear to be changing
Few, if any, wrecks pose an environmental threat, and those that do are localized. Known maritime archaeological resources pose few or no environmental threats.
17. What are the levels of human activities that may influence maritime archaeological resource quality and how are they changing?
up arrow
All human activities that pose a threat to maritime archaeological resources are on the decline due to management actions (e.g., mooring, education, and enforcement activities). Selected activities have resulted in measurable impacts to maritime archaeological resources, but evidence suggests effects are localized, not widespread.

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