NOAA proposes to designate Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario to recognize the national significance of the area's historical, archaeological and cultural resources and to manage this special place as part of the National Marine Sanctuary System.
NOAA invites the public to comment on this proposed rulemaking and will consider all submitted comments when preparing final regulations in the last phase of the sanctuary designation process.
The public comment period is open until March 20, 2023.
The national significance of the area within and around the proposed sanctuary will benefit from long-term protection, management and interpretation.
The proposed boundary is a 1,724 square-mile area containing 43 known shipwrecks, including the historic schooner St. Peter, and one aircraft. Based on historical records, an additional 20 shipwrecks, three aircraft and several other underwater archaeological sites may be located there.
NOAA proposes the following regulations to protect underwater cultural and historical resources in the proposed sanctuary:
- Prohibit moving, removing, recovering, altering, destroying, possessing or otherwise injuring a sanctuary resource;
- Prohibit possessing, selling, offering for sale, purchasing, importing, exporting, exchanging, delivering, carrying, transporting or shipping by any means any sanctuary resource within or outside of the sanctuary;
- Prohibit grappling or anchoring on shipwreck sites;
- Prohibit deploying tethered underwater mobile systems at shipwreck sites without a permit; and
- Prohibit interfering with an investigation.