Based on an evaluation of a management plan review working group, the Thunder Bay Sanctuary Advisory Council passed a resolution to expand the sanctuary on May 22, 2007. The council’s proposed expansion includes the waters off Alpena, Alcona, and Presque Isle counties, east to the international border with Canada. The evaluation document states that expansion would protect “important national treasures… through the sanctuary’s research and monitoring, education, and resource protection programs, while allowing recreational use of the resources.” The sanctuary included a strategy in its recently released Final Management Plan (Strategy RP-1, page 11) to evaluate and assess this recommendation. Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have introduced bills to expand the sanctuary legislatively. Several local government and non-governmental organizations have submitted resolutions or written letters of support for sanctuary expansion.
In April 2012, NOAA held three scoping meetings for the public to learn more about the proposal and submit comments. Meetings were held in Alpena, MI (April 17), Rogers City, MI (April 18) and Harrisville, MI (April 19).
For more information, contact Russ Green, Deputy Superintendent at 989-356-8805 ext. 16.