Our side of Lake Ontario could be designated a National Marine Sanctuary, one of just 15 world-wide. The public input part of the process gets underway this week.
The 1,700 square mile area has 21 known shipwrecks, some dating back to colonial times. At least 47 more and at least two historically important aircraft are believed in the area, and would become protected.
For the past three years, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego and Jefferson Counties, the four counties on Ontario’s southeast shore, have been putting together a designation proposal. Oswego County Administrator Phil Church tells us the ‘selling points’ are economic development, including more tourism, also new historic programs for students in schools, university research potential, and new business development possibilities for underwater technology companies.
NOAA (the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) approached the counties to make the application, which has passed its first hurdle: the area is now listed as ‘proposed’ on NOAA’s website, where you can see the 14 areas already designated, including Lake Huron, and the current ‘competitors.’