U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Obama Administration Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuaries Designation
Baldwin Has Long Championed Efforts to Protect and Preserve Wisconsin’s Great Lakes
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, today applauded an announcement from the Obama Administration that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is moving forward to designate the first new National Marine Sanctuaries since 2000, including one in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan waters. The two proposed sanctuary sites will be open for public comment now through January 15, 2016.
In October 2013, Senator Baldwin urged NOAA to re-open the public nomination process for the first time in 20 years. After the Administration announced in June 2014 that Americans would be given the opportunity to nominate nationally significant marine and Great Lakes areas as national marine sanctuaries, Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan proposal was submitted and Senator Baldwin called on NOAA to support their efforts.
“The Great Lakes are a great asset for our quality of life in Wisconsin and also for our long term economic security,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to join Wisconsin stakeholders, who have worked tirelessly on this effort, in applauding this major announcement that will protect and preserve some of Wisconsin’s most treasured places and boost our local tourism economy. I am committed to continuing my work carrying on the strong Wisconsin tradition of protecting our Great Lakes.”
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin has advocated for additional funding for the National Marine Sanctuaries program in order to help Wisconsin establish the Lake Michigan National Sanctuary. Senator Baldwin also recognizes the many other opportunities for Wisconsin to host a National Marine Sanctuary and in August 2015, joined Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to introduce the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Assessment Act of 2015, which would require NOAA to review maritime heritage resources in the Great Lakes and suggest areas worthy of designation.
In Wisconsin, an 875-square mile area of Lake Michigan, with waters extending from Port Washington to Two Rivers was endorsed by Senator Baldwin and a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals at local, state, regional and national levels including elected officials, businesses, environmental, recreation, conservation, fishing and tourism groups, museums, historical societies and education groups. The area contains a collection of 39 known shipwrecks, 15 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fifteen of the known shipwrecks are essentially intact, and three vessels possess standing masts - a rarity in the Great Lakes.
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