A Kewaunee County supervisor who has championed including the county in a proposed Great Lakes Marine Sanctuary hopes the idea can be brought back in the wake of this month’s gubernatorial election results.
Supervisor Lee Luft sent an email last week to Ellen Brody, NOAA Great Lakes regional coordinator, and Russ Green, regional coordinator for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, encouraging them to restart the process of designating an area in Lake Michigan off eastern Wisconsin as a marine sanctuary.
A national marine sanctuary is a federally designated area within United States waters that protects areas of the marine environment with special conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, cultural, archeological, scientific, educational, or aesthetic qualities.
The communities of Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers nominated the waters off their counties for consideration as a national marine sanctuary, and the state of Wisconsin submitted the proposal to NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in December 2014. Kewaunee County officials then began to lobby for inclusion in the proposal.
The process came to a sudden halt in March when Gov. Scott Walker withdrew the nomination. With Walker’s re-election defeat Nov. 6, Luft suggested to Brody and Green that the effort could now be resumed.
“The voters of Wisconsin selected a new administration to lead our state, and I am hoping that we can restart the Lake Michigan sanctuary designation process,” Luft wrote. “With Tony Evers set to take office in January 2019, the time may be near for us to again seek support from the governor’s office.”