National Marine Sanctuary seeks council members

By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, created just a year ago, is seeking volunteers to serve on its advisory council.

The 15-member council will provide advice and recommendations on management of the sanctuary to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates the sanctuary.

Council members also act as liaisons between NOAA and their communities to help build a strong connection.

That’s important since the sanctuary, which runs along the Lake Michigan coastline from Port Washington to Two Rivers,  was created in 2021 after more than a decade of debate.

NOAA is seeking members to represent a variety of interests, among them diving and archaeology; history, heritage and public interpretation; education; tourism  and marketing; economic development; fishing; recreation; maritime industry; and citizens at large.

Members will serve two or three year terms.  The deadline for applications is Oct. 1.

Since being designated as a national sanctuary, NOAA has been working on a facilities study that looks at what is needed and where these facilities may be located, Russ Green, Great Lakes regional coordinator for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said in June.

That report is expected to be completed in fall or early winter, he said, with a decision on the sanctuary needs expected next spring.

While many sanctuaries have one headquarters, NOAA has said it wants to have a presence in the four major communities within the sanctuary — Port, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers.

NOAA has also been at work mapping the lakebed within the sanctuary, an effort Green said is aimed at deepening understanding of the lake and potentially finding new shipwrecks.

The sanctuary contains 36 known shipwrecks and about 60 suspected wrecks, many of which are believed to be largely intact, according to NOAA.

The wrecks are as old as the mid-1800s and as recent as the Linda E., the last fishing tug out of Port Washington. The tug left the harbor on Dec. 11, 1998, with three men on board and was discovered on the lakebed south of Port on June 18, 2000. The boat had been run over by the integrated tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes.

For more information on the sanctuary and to obtain a copy of the council application, visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov/wisconsin/involved or contact Green at russ.green@noaa.gov or at (989) 766-3359.

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