Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary

In October 2015, in response to a community-based sanctuary nomination, NOAA announced its intent to designate a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan to conserve nationally-significant shipwrecks. With input from the public, industry stakeholders, and in close consultation with the state of Wisconsin, NOAA has published a final environmental impact statement and final management plan for the proposed Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

The proposed 962-square-mile Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary would protect 36 shipwrecks that possess exceptional historic, archaeological, and recreational value. Historical research suggests that nearly 60 shipwrecks are yet to be discovered in the sanctuary.

Co-managed with the state of Wisconsin, the sanctuary would expand on the state’s 30-year stewardship of these historic sites, bringing new opportunities for research, resource protection, educational programming, and community engagement. In partnership with local communities, the sanctuary would provide a national stage for promoting heritage tourism and recreation.

Maps and Alternatives

map showing boundry alternatives

Alternative A (NOAA's preferred alternative)

Boundary: 962 square-miles

Known Shipwrecks: 36

Potential Shipwrecks: 59

Alternative B

Boundary: 1,260 square miles

Known Shipwrecks: 40

Potential Shipwrecks: 73

For more information contact
Russ Green
Regional Coordinator


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 14 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.

system map