Saturday, June 22, 2024

Part Of Lake Ontario Designated As New National Marine Sanctuary


The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week that it has designated part of Lake Ontario as a national marine sanctuary.

Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary — adjacent to New York’s Jefferson, Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties — will celebrate the region’s maritime cultural history and provide new opportunities for research, education, recreation and maritime heritage-related tourism in local coastal communities and the broader Great Lakes region.

The sanctuary designation advances the Biden administration’s “America the Beautiful” Initiative, which supports locally-led collaborative conservation efforts across the country for the benefit of all Americans and sets a national goal of protecting, conserving or restoring at least 30% of US lands and waters by 2030.

According to NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad:

“The designation of this sanctuary is a milestone for NOAA, New York and the nation. Establishing a national marine sanctuary in the cold fresh waters of eastern Lake Ontario opens the door to world-class research and education initiatives, and provides opportunities to support and enhance tourism and the local economy within one of the most historically significant regions in the Great Lakes.”

Eastern Lake Ontario’s waters and coast tells the story of the USA’s diverse history and heritage, from early Indigenous settlements to today. The area includes transportation and trade routes for Indigenous Peoples and early European explorers, and locations of military conflicts and maritime innovation, NOAA said.

“Eastern Lake Ontario supported the growth of the young American republic and the nation’s industrial core.”

The new sanctuary features a collection of 41 known shipwrecks and one known submerged aircraft, among the best preserved in the world, discovered over decades by recreational scuba divers and shipwreck explorers. The shipwrecks, such as St. Peter, a three-masted schooner that was loaded with coal when it was lost in a storm in 1898, embody more than two centuries of the nation’s maritime history.

NOAA and its local and state partners will host a community celebration for the new sanctuary on Friday, September 6th, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. The event will take place at William S. Cahill Pier, 39 Lake Street, Oswego, New York.

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.