NOAA is considering designating part of eastern Lake Ontario a national marine sanctuary to protect historically significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources and is holding four public meetings on the proposal.
This is the first step in the designation process and the public can comment through July 31 on the proposed sanctuary online, by mail or in person at the public meetings.
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, which currently operates a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments, is proposing a 1,700-square-mile sanctuary, adjacent to Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and Wayne counties, that would protect 21 known shipwrecks and one military aircraft representing events spanning more than 200 years of our nation’s history. An additional 47 shipwrecks and two historic aircraft are also likely located within the proposed sanctuary boundaries, based on historical records.
The proposed sanctuary also includes a separate area surrounding the HMS Ontario, which is both the oldest confirmed shipwreck (1780) and the only fully intact British warship discovered in the Great Lakes.
Specific areas of designation would include Sodus Point, Fair Haven, Oswego, North Pond, Selkirk, Henderson Harbor and Sackets Harbor.
Public meetings to provide information and gather input on a proposed national marine sanctuary in Lake Ontario will be held at the following locations:
n 6:30-8 p.m., June 10, Fair Haven Fire Hall, 14447 Fair Haven Road, Sterling (Cayuga County)
n 6:30-8 p.m., June 11, Emergency Operations Center, 7376 Route 31, Lyons (Wayne County)
n 6:30-8 p.m., June 12, Lake Ontario Conference Center, 26 East 1st Street, Oswego (Oswego County)
n 6:30-8 p.m., June 13, Jefferson Community College, 1220 Coffeen St., Jules Center, Room 6-002, Watertown (Jefferson County)
Comments may be made at the meetings, online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov using docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0032, or by mail to Ellen Brody, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, 4840 South State Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.