Freshwater Shipwrecks

Preserved for centuries by the cold, fresh water of Lake Michigan, 36 historically significant shipwrecks are now protected within a new national marine sanctuary co- managed by NOAA and the state of Wisconsin. Freshwater shipwrecks create small ecosystems, supporting encrusting growth as well as arthropods and isopods that are at the base of the food chain. These tiny crustaceans attract small fish, which then attract bigger fish that like to take refuge in and around the structure of the shipwreck. Some species will even find ideal spots to build nests to protect their eggs.

Freshwater shipwrecks diver going through a shipwreck
Photo: Tamara Thomsen/Wisconsin Historical Society