Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary

In April 2019, in response to a community-based sanctuary nomination, NOAA announced its intent to designate a new national marine sanctuary in New York's eastern Lake Ontario. On July 7, 2021, NOAA published a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), which presented alternatives for the proposed sanctuary, and a draft management plan. After analyzing feedback from the public, stakeholders, federally recognized nations and tribes, and New York agencies, NOAA chose to move forward with the boundary alternative that encompasses 1,724 square miles of eastern Lake Ontario waters and bottomlands adjacent to Jefferson, Oswego, Cayuga, and Wayne counties in the state of New York.

Sanctuary Advisory Council

NOAA established a sanctuary advisory council to help inform the designation process and focus stakeholder participation.

About the Nomination

In January 2017, the city of Oswego and four counties (Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne, and Cayuga), with support from the governor, submitted a nomination for the proposed Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary to be added to NOAA's inventory for potential designation. New York nominated the area to protect and increase awareness of a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks; to foster partnerships with education and research groups; and to increase opportunities for tourism and recreation as part of the regional Blue Economy.

NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System

national marine sanctuary system map

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 620,000 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 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.