June 22, 2021
Contact: DOA Communications, (608) 266-1741

DOA Applauds Gov. Evers’ Work to Designate the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary 

Madison, Wis. – Today, Governor Tony Evers announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will publish the final rule for the designation of the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary (WSCNMS) on June 23, 2021. The WSCNMS designation will take effect following a review by Governor Evers and Congress over a 45-day period of continuous session of Congress. Upon designation, the WSCNMS will be co-managed between the State of Wisconsin and NOAA.

“We are grateful for Governor Evers’ leadership in advancing the National Marine Sanctuary designation for Wisconsin’s Shipwreck Coast,” said Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary Joel Brennan. “The partnership of local, state, and national leaders is an example of the significant work we can accomplish when we work together. I’m also grateful to the dedicated team of Coastal Management staff at DOA who have advocated for this designation for more than seven years. This designation will mean more Wisconsinites will have the opportunity to learn from and enjoy the sanctuary for years to come.”

The WSCNMS, an approximately 962 square-mile area, includes the waters and submerged lands of Lake Michigan adjacent to Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Kewaunee counties. This early maritime transportation corridor was critical to the expansion of the United States and the development of agriculture and industry. The maritime corridor includes a nationally significant collection of underwater cultural resources, including a diversity of vessels that traveled along the Lake Michigan coast and across the waters. These known and suspected shipwrecks are critically important to our shared history and exemplify significant historical, archaeological, and recreational values.

This region was nominated for a national marine sanctuary in 2014 by a partnership of coastal communities and local governments, elected officials, state agencies, businesses, and tourism and recreation representatives. Governor Evers’ guidance in convening communities and stakeholders was instrumental in advancing the WSCNMS towards designation.

There are countless benefits to designating and establishing a national marine sanctuary in the State of Wisconsin. The WSCNMS will enhance and expand on the State’s successful history of stewardship of these shipwrecks and will foster new opportunities for research, resource protection, and education. The WSCNMS will also provide opportunities for greater recreation and public access and be a catalyst for continued economic growth through increased tourism and economic development.

The designation of the WSCNMS will promote the value and create a heightened appreciation of the State’s Great Lakes’ maritime heritage resources and our shared state history. The WSCNMS will provide an opportunity to share and learn from the national marine sanctuary system and other partners as the State continues to learn from, and protect, these valuable historic resources.


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