Hearings set next week on marine sanctuary proposal along Lake Ontario

The four counties proposing a national marine heritage sanctuary for a 1,700-square-mile area of Lake Ontario are hosting a series of public meetings on the proposal next week.

Wayne County Administrator Rick House noted that in 2017, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego and Jefferson counties, as well as the city of Oswego, applied to the federal government to have the southeastern waters of Lake Ontario designated a marine sanctuary, based on the cultural and historic significance of the area.

House said the public meetings, hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are part of the process to gather additional data and develop a draft management plan for the proposed sanctuary.

Hundreds of years of well-preserved war ships, commerce ships, aircraft and artifacts unique to the region can be found on the bottom of Lake Ontario, and the sanctuary designation would help protect them and encourage folks who dive for shipwrecks to visit and spend money.

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