The Kewaunee County Executive Committee has forwarded a resolution in support of establishing a Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuary covering a number of historic shipwrecks off shore from Ozaukee north to Kewaunee County.
Gov. Evers sent a letter this month to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries establishing renewed interest in completing the designation process.
The full County Board is expected to consider the resolution when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Administration Center, 810 Lincoln St., Kewaunee.
“A National Marine Sanctuary that includes Kewaunee County would build upon the nationally known sport fishing industry in Kewaunee County, the Kewaunee Harbor and Pierhead Lighthouse and the walkway connecting the Pierhead Lighthouse to the Ahnapee Trail,” the resolution reads in part.
The 875-square-mile sanctuary would also enhance tourism and “support and promote a wide range of youth and adult educational activities and enhance the cultural and historical understanding of this region,” the resolution continues.
The measure does not have unanimous support on the County Board, with some supervisors concerned about the amount of power ceded to NOAA over activities along the lake. Then-Gov. Scott Walker withdrew the state’s support of the proposal in March 2018.
County Board Supervisor Lee Luft said he supports the designation based on the experience of the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary off Alpena, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula.
“There can’t be a much clearer basis for support than these years of experience,” Luft said in a recent letter to a constituent, “and I’m hopeful that if the Lake Michigan Marine Sanctuary is eventually approved we will have a very similar experience here (economic growth, renewed focus on our marine heritage, education about the marine environment, etc.).”