NOAA 2001-R412
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Miller
4/13/01

THUNDER BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY IN MICHIGAN TO RECEIVE FUNDS FOR SHIPWRECK INVENTORY AND POTENTIAL VISITOR CENTER
President's Budget Slates $52 Million for National Marine Sanctuary System

President Bush's budget for the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration targets $52 million for the National Marine Sanctuary System, including Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve offshore of Alpena, Mich. The amount includes $13 million in new funds for the creation or upgrading of visitors' facilities called Ocean Discovery Centers at some sanctuaries.

At Thunder Bay, a portion of this increase will be used to conduct an inventory of shipwrecks, develop educational materials on maritime history, acquire a sanctuary vessel, and explore development of a Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena.

"NOAA's Thunder Bay National Marine sanctuary is a true treasure for Michigan and the whole nation to share," said Scott Gudes, acting NOAA administrator and under secretary for oceans and atmosphere. "These incredible underwater parks allow us to protect, conserve and enhance areas that might not otherwise be here for future generations."

Gudes added, "The continued investment in our marine sanctuaries will allow for upgrading the operating and technical capacity in the 13 marine sanctuaries."

The FY 2002 increase will be used to improve protection of important sanctuary resources, including coral reefs, endangered marine mammals, sensitive habitats and significant cultural resources. In coming months, NOAA plans to use vessels and aircraft to inventory natural and cultural resources at all 13 sanctuaries, and the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, including activities conducted under the Sustainable Seas Expedition.

In 1972, exactly one hundred years after the first national park was created, the Nation made a similar commitment to preserving its marine treasures by establishing the National Marine Sanctuary Program. Today there are 13 National Marine Sanctuaries. They encompass deep ocean gardens, near shore coral reefs, whale feeding and calving grounds, deep sea canyons and even underwater archaeological sites. Together the sanctuaries protect nearly 20,000 square miles of ocean waters and habitats. While some activities are regulated or prohibited in sanctuaries to protect resources, multiple uses consistent with resource protection (such as recreation, commercial fishing and shipping) are allowed. Research, education and outreach activities are major components in each sanctuary's program.

NOAA's National Ocean Service has managed marine sanctuaries since the passage of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, now called the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

The President's FY 2002 budget request for NOAA is available on the Internet at http://www.noaa.gov

To learn more about the National Marine Sanctuaries program visit http://www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov