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May 24, 2019

NOAA to hold public meetings on proposed NMS in June

OSWEGO - The federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will hold public meetings June 10 through 13 in the four counties that have proposed a national maritime heritage sanctuary in the southeastern waters of Lake Ontario.

In 2017 Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego and Jefferson counties, and the City of Oswego, applied to have a 1,700-square mile area designated as a marine sanctuary, based on the cultural and historic significance of the area. The public meetings are part of the process to gather additional data and develop a draft management plan for the proposed sanctuary.

NOAA will conduct public meetings to provide information and gather input on:

Oswego County Administrator Phil Church, who chaired the 4-county nomination task force, said the proposal does not include any new regulations on fishing, scuba diving, water quality, or commercial shipping and dredging.

"Within the nomination area there are 22 shipwrecks and one aircraft whose locations are known," said Church. "The oldest date from the late 1700s. The purpose of the sanctuary is to protect and increase awareness of this nationally significant collection of shipwrecks. The sanctuary designation would also foster partnerships with education and research groups and increase opportunities for tourism and recreation as part of the regional economy. The project was developed with bipartisan support on many levels of government, and with the support of several regional businesses, museums, and organizations."

People may also comment online by going to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov. Use docket number NOAA-NOS-2019-0032; or by mail by addressing comments to Ellen Brody, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, 4840 South State Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. All comments must be submitted or postmarked by July 31.

Additional information is available online at: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/lake-ontario/ and by following on Twitter @LakeOntarioNMS.

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