Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) ProposalFor the first time in nearly 20 years the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has opened up the application process to add new National Marine Sanctuaries to the 14 already established regions in the world. This unique opportunity has prompted four Lake Ontario counties (Jefferson, Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne) and the City of Oswego to apply for status for the southeastern Lake Ontario region. Each community brings its strengths and interests to the table in an effort to ensure that the natural, cultural and historic resources that we cherish and enjoy can be experienced by others for generations to come. To succeed, the process begins with community support. It's important to understand what an NMS is and what it means for our community and industries.
What is an NMS?
National Marine Sanctuaries or “NMS” areas are designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for research, education, and protection. NMS can only be designated for underwater, submerged areas within the oceans or Great Lakes. These are sites that contribute unique ecological, cultural, aesthetic, or recreational resources of national significance. They are selected for their opportunity to advance marine science, education, and conservation programs that support ecologic, economic, subsistence, and traditional uses. Learn More
The Great Lake Ontario proposed Sanctuary embodies historic and cultural significance which could benefit from federal protection. Hundreds of years of well preserved war ships, commerce ships, aircraft, and artifacts unique to our region can be preserved and protected for future generations.
Did you know that the cold fresh waters of Lake Ontario are perfect for the preservation of shipwrecks and artifacts? It's an ideal atmosphere for researchers and institutions of higher learning in surrounding areas and throughout the world. New facilities, new educational opportunities, new and expanded museums, new possibilities for our region.
Marine Sanctuaries can bring in several thousand visitors and researchers resulting in a substantial regional economic impact. Our proximity to Airports, Railways, and major highways makes our location an accessible and desirable destination.
An NMS does not mean “off limits”. Just the opposite in fact. An NMS seeks to enhance responsible and sustainable access for recreational, educational and economic purposes!
Learn more about what a National Marine Sanctuary designation would mean for you
On the National Register of Historic Places, the St. Peter is a Great Lakes schooner that shipwrecked in Lake Ontario near Pultneyville in Wayne County, New York.
U.S. Air Force C-45 aircraft, abandoned during flight by its crew when crippled by the failure of one of its two engines the plane continued on a 65 mile pilotless flight.
After the tug sank from a large wave off Oswego, the crew was saved by hanging on to a tractor tire before being rescued.
Great Lake Ontario Marine Sanctuary News
Sign the Online Petition
Help make Great Lake Ontario a National Marine Sanctuary by signing the petition to support the application.
Sign the Letter to Congress
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has put together a letter of support that we will send directly to your Members of Congress. Sign our online letter before midnight Friday, March 18 SIGN HERE
Locations of the U.S. Marine Sanctuaries
There is only One Marine Sanctuary in the United States Great Lakes. Help preserve and protect our regions cultural and historical signifigance.
Call for Community Support
Regional offices in Wayne County, Jefferson County, Oswego County, and Cayuga County and the City of Oswego have come together to apply for National Marine Sanctuary Status of their Marine environments.
Thunder Bay Sanctuary - Michigan
Located at the Northern Tip of Michigan, the only Great Lakes Marine Sanctuary flourishes in research and economic development accounting for $10 million in annual revenue.
Explore the St. Peter Shipwreck (Coming Soon)
St. Peter is a historic Great Lakes schooner that shipwrecked in Lake Ontario near Pultneyville in Wayne County, New York.
Great Lake Ontario NMS Announcement
The proposal of the Great Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary proposal is scheduled to be announced to the public on Sep 4th at the New York State Fair
Becoming a part of the National Marine Sanctuary system has the potential to boost our regional economy and promote Central New York’s growing tourism efforts while preserving and protecting some of our region’s most unique historical natural resources. As we move forward with this collaborative proposal, I look forward to continuing discussions with local stakeholders in our communities to ensure that we educate the community and hear from all parties on the issue.U.S. Rep John Katko, Congressman
The City of Oswego is enthusiastic about the possibility of the Great Lake Ontario NMS designation. This prestigious opportunity would highlight our greatest assets, Lake Ontario and our rich maritime history, and promote them to create a robust tourism industry. The formation of a tourism economy based around shipwreck history and diving would positively impact, not only the City, but our entire region. This opportunity is compelling and we are excited to support and embrace Oswego County’s nomination initiative and application.Mayor Gillen, City of Oswego
Through this initiative, our region would be identified as part of a collection of very few spectacular settings in the Nation, including the Olympic Coast of Washington State, the Florida Keys, and American Samoa in Hawaii. National designation would provide the basis for significant economic growth opportunities founded on preservation and conservation of Central New York’s compelling collection of natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment of present and future generations.Jean B. Gleisner, CNY Regional Planning and Development Board
I dove my first Lake Ontario shipwreck during a visit in 1974. Since then I have had a wonderful opportunity to dive many more wrecks and still do. The clear water, availability of local marinas, and accessible dive sites such as the David Mills makes SCUBA diving a great local recreational activity. Designating the eastern end of Lake Ontario as a National Marine Sanctuary can provide more opportunities for divers from many areas to come visit and experience what Lake Ontario has to offer.Dale A. Currier, Recreational Diver
Oswego Harbor, the oldest freshwater port in the United States, is the epicenter of Lake Ontario’s marine roots. As a center for discovery, trade, warfare, innovation and commerce the southeastern shores of Lake Ontario played a pivotal role in making of modern America. The submerged cultural resources contained within those waters serve as a living testament to our combined regional maritime history, heritage and culture. An NMS designation will allow for the preservation, protection, education and access to these truly nationally significant, largely untapped, resources.Mercedes Niess, H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego