Wisconsin - Lake Michigan

In October 2015, NOAA announced its intent to designate a new national marine sanctuary to help conserve nationally-significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources in Wisconsin. Following a public comment period last year, NOAA has developed a detailed analysis and management plan for a proposed national marine sanctuary in the waters of Lake Michigan adjacent to Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Ozaukee counties. The public now has an opportunity to review the proposal and provide input.


The proposed 1,075-square-mile Wisconsin–Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary would protect 37 shipwrecks and related underwater cultural resources that possess exceptional historic, archaeological, and recreational value. The sanctuary would also enhance heritage tourism within the many coastal communities that have embraced their centuries-long maritime relationship with Lake Michigan, the Great Lakes region, and the nation

Maps and Alternatives

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Alternative A (NOAA's preferred alternative)

Boundary: 1,075 square miles

Known Shipwrecks: 37

Potential Shipwrecks: 80

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Alternative B

Boundary: 1,260 square miles

Known Shipwrecks: 38

Potential Shipwrecks: 95


Comments must be received by March 31, 2017. Comments may be submitted by any one of the following methods:

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Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

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Russ Green
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan
One University Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081

For more information contact
Russ Green
Regional Coordinator

About the Nomination

Wisconsin-Lake Michigan was nominated as a national marine sanctuary through the NOAA’s Sanctuary Nomination Process with broad community and bipartisan support.

In December 2014, the state of Wisconsin submitted the sanctuary nomination, citing the need to protect, conserve, and enhance public access to this nationally-significant collection of shipwrecks. The nomination also notes opportunities to foster education and research partnerships, increase tourism, and enhance economic development.

The nomination is endorsed by a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals at local, state, regional, and national levels. This includes elected officials, businesses, museums, and environmental, recreational, conservation, tourism, and educational groups.

Principal cities involved in supporting the sanctuary nomination include Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Two Rivers, and Mequon.

NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.

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