Santiago, Chile – President Barack Obama announced that two marine areas have been identified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as possible designated areas called marine sanctuaries. The announcement was made during the 2015 Our Ocean Conference in Chile.
Other subjects such as plans to combat overfishing and increasing pollution in the ocean are being discussed in the international conference.
For the first time since 2000, the NOAA is inviting people across the nations to nominate places to be considered as marine sanctuaries. NOAA announced that they will be available for answering questions to help the communities make their decisions.
President Obama has been taken a series of environmental actions, including the ban of 400,000 square miles of the central Pacific Ocean to prohibit commercial fishing, deep sea mining and other activities that cause side effects on the ecosystem, made last year.
One of the marine areas being considered is an 875-square-mile area of Lake Michigan, in Wisconsin. It extends from Port Washington to Two Rivers. Below the surface, a collection of 39 known shipwrecks could be found, including the schooner Home, one of the oldest discovered in the area. Fifteen of those are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The other area being considered is in Maryland at the Mallows Bay-Potomac River. It has an extension of 14-square mile area, adjacent to Charles County. Items from the Revolutionary War and from the World War I are being treasured in the bottom, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
NOAA is now expecting the public to comment the considerations. After that, they will develop a “Draft environmental impact statement, draft management plan and potential regulations for each site, which will then be available for public review,” according to information on their website. Then, NOAA will make a final decision. The openness to public comment showed by NOAA is a response to the interest and widespread of the public on participating on the nomination process.
“NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of 14 marine protected areas encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa,” informs NOAA on their website.
Their goal is to identify and protect these areas with an special significance in the history of the U.S.