MANITOWOC — Gov. Tony Evers, joined by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources Sec. Preston Cole, and local officials, today visited the Wisconsin Maritime Museum to express support for the Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary designation process. This sanctuary would be the second of its kind in the country, and would protect, conserve, and enhance public access to a significant number of historic shipwrecks in Lake Michigan within Wisconsin state boundaries.
“These shipwrecks help tell the story of Wisconsin and they are a reminder of the enduring relationship between the people of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes,” said Gov. Evers. “This project will expand on state and local tourism initiatives, create a heightened appreciation of the Great Lakes, and provide educational opportunities on the historical significance of this lake shore.”
“We’ve been working towards a National Marine Sanctuary designation in Wisconsin for a long time, and we have reached this milestone because of the incredible vision and hard work of community leaders, business owners and residents up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline. I’m pleased this effort can finally move forward thanks to the support of Governor Evers,” said Sen. Baldwin. “Our Great Lakes are an important part of our nation’s economic engine, and of our maritime heritage. This national designation will ensure that the Lake Michigan coast gets the recognition it deserves as a premier national coastal destination, and will provide the public with new opportunities for recreation, tourism and learning.”
Sen. Baldwin has been a staunch advocate of the proposed National Marine Sanctuary from the very beginning of her time representing Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, and her work at the federal level and with local partners is helping secure a designation in Wisconsin. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Baldwin has pushed for federal funding to ensure NOAA has the resources needed to support development of a marine sanctuary in Wisconsin.
In coordination with this public announcement, Gov. Evers sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries establishing renewed interest in completing this designation process. This process began in 2014 and was temporary delayed in February of 2018. The governor’s letter to re-initiate conversations and negotiations with NOAA can be found here.