NOAA Releases Draft Management Plan for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary for Public Review and Comment

February 27, 2009

Diver in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

NOAA released the draft management plan for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary for public review and comment today. The plan provides a framework for the sanctuary’s resource protection, education and outreach, and research programs.

Specific recommendations in the draft management plan include enhancing access to, and responsible use of, sanctuary resources by installing additional mooring buoys, promoting public stewardship through expanded education and outreach programs, and enhancing the long-term protection of sanctuary resources through enforcement, research and monitoring efforts. The draft management plan also provides guidance for developing the sanctuary’s infrastructure.

“This plan will help chart the sanctuary’s future and ensure that our rich maritime history and Great Lakes resources will be preserved for future generations to enjoy,” said sanctuary superintendent Jeff Gray.

NOAA and the state of Michigan’s Department of History, Arts and Libraries, in cooperation with the Thunder Bay Sanctuary Advisory Council, developed the plan with input from the public, local governments, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Periodic management plan review is required by Congress for each of the 13 national marine sanctuaries to ensure they continue to conserve, protect, and enhance their resources while allowing compatible commercial and recreational activities. The new draft plan and environmental assessment is a revision to the original management plan published in 1999. The draft plan is comprised of four action plans that address resource protection, education and outreach, research, and sanctuary operations and administration.

Written comments on the draft management plan and draft environmental assessment must be received by April 10, 2009 and may be sent to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Management Plan Review), 500 West Fletcher Street, Alpena, MI, 49707, faxed to 989-354-0144, or e-mailed. Public hearings also will be held at the following locations:

Copies of the draft management plan and draft environmental assessment are available for download online. Copies are also available on request at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary office, by phone at 989-356-8805, ext.38, or by e-mail.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by NOAA and the state of Michigan. The 448-square-mile sanctuary was designated the 13th national marine sanctuary in 2000. Its mission is to preserve nationally significant shipwrecks and regional maritime landscape through resource protection, education, and research and to promote appreciation and responsible use of Thunder Bay, the Great Lakes, and the oceans.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.