Community Members Chosen for Proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

By Elizabeth Weinberg

February 2020

Last April, NOAA proposed a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Ontario, which would protect historically significant shipwrecks and maritime heritage resources. The new sanctuary was nominated by the the city of Oswego, and Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne, and Cayuga counties, with support from the state of New York.

Community involvement is vitally important to the establishment and management of all national marine sanctuaries. With that in mind, in September, NOAA put out a call for membership for a new Sanctuary Advisory Council for the proposed Lake Ontario sanctuary. The members have been selected, and the first meeting – which is open to the public – will be at 6:30 pm on March 18 at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, 26 East 1st Street, Oswego.

An arial view of a small light house and docked boats
The proposed national marine sanctuary is a region of eastern Lake Ontario that includes approximately 1,700 square miles of lake waters and bottomlands. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

The Role of the Sanctuary Advisory Council

“The local communities have been instrumental in leading the effort for a national marine sanctuary in Lake Ontario,” says Ellen Brody, Great Lakes regional coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuary. “We at NOAA are excited to have the new Sanctuary Advisory Council continue to represent local interests in the designation process.”

All sites within the National Marine Sanctuary System have an advisory council made up of community members. Council members serve as a bridge between NOAA and the proposed sanctuary communities. They help keep sanctuary staff informed of issues and concerns, while also providing information to their communities on the proposed sanctuary’s behalf.

The Lake Ontario Sanctuary Advisory Council will also provide advice to NOAA staff on the sanctuary proposal itself. They will advise the sanctuary on how to best protect resources and put forth ideas for the sanctuary’s management plan.

“It’s so important for our local communities to be involved in the advisory council,” says Jeanie Gleisner, a member of the new council. ”We have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen community interests while helping to manage a collection of maritime resources now recognized as of national historic significance. I’m thrilled to be a part of this effort!”

A dive shines a light on a shipwreck
A diver investigates the wreck of St. Peter in the proposed sanctuary. Photo: Nick Zachar/NOAA

Sanctuary Advisory Council Members

Sanctuary advisory councils draw from a diverse cross-section of community members. The Lake Ontario council consists of 15 voting members, with an alternate for each seat. (NOAA will accept applications for the two vacant alternate seats.) The new members are:

Robert Morgan – Member (Oswego County)
Katie Malinowski – Member (Oswego County)
Kathryn McCarthy – Alternate (Jefferson County)
Greg Boyer – Alternate (Onondaga County)

Divers, Dive Clubs, and Shipwreck Exploration
Jim Kennard – Member (Monroe County)
Jim Wieser – Member (Wayne County)
Ray Tucker – Alternate (Oneida County)
Ken Kozin – Alternate (Jefferson County)

Economic Development
Jeanie Gleisner – Member (Onondaga County)
Jay Matteson – Member (Jefferson County)
Bradley Broadwell – Alternate (Onondaga County)
June Smith – Alternate (Cayuga County)

Robert Humphrey – Member (Cayuga County)
Bill Crist – Member (Onondaga County)
Pam Caraccioli – Alternate (Oswego County)
Benjamin Heckethorn – Alternate (Oswego County)

Maritime History and Interpretation
Mercedes Niess – Member (Oswego County)
Dennis McCarthy – Member (Jefferson County)
Joe Zarzynski – Alternate (Saratoga County)
Susan Gately – Alternate (Cayuga County)

Recreational Boating
Dale Currier – Member (Oswego County)
Mark Slosek – Alternate (Oswego County)

Recreational Fishing
Greg Gehrig – Member (Oswego County)
Vacant - Alternate

Shoreline Property Owner
Claudia Maurer – Member (Jefferson County)
Ed Mervine – Alternate (Oswego County)

Corey Fram – Member (Jefferson County)
Shane Broadwell – Member (Oswego County)
Janet Marsden – Alternate (Wayne County)
Vacant - Alternate

Members serve three-year terms, and are limited to three consecutive terms. The advisory council charter may be revised when the sanctuary is designated; if the sanctuary is not designated, the council will disband.

Non-voting members on the Sanctuary Advisory Council are the counties of Jefferson, Cayuga, Oswego, and Wayne; the city of Oswego; the state of New York; the Port of Oswego Authority; and New York Sea Grant.

Elizabeth Weinberg is the digital outreach coordinator and writer for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.