Marine Sanctuaries on the Great Lakes

Whereas, the lake bottom of the Great Lakes cradles thousands of shipwrecks; and

Whereas, preservation of these shipwrecks is a sacred duty; and

Whereas, the establishment and expansion of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron ensured that more than 200 wrecks will be preserved for time immemorial; and

Whereas, a marine sanctuary to preserve the cultural resources of shipwrecks has been proposed on Lake Michigan off Wisconsin; and

Whereas, commercial freighters must traverse these waters and have access to commercial ports in the course of conducting waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes; and

Whereas, current regulations governing marine sanctuaries can ban ballasting and any other discharges during the course of normal vessel operations, anchoring and dredging in those waters; and

Whereas, ballasting and other shipboard activities are key to safe and efficient operation; and must be conducted in all the waters of the Great Lakes, including in marine sanctuaries; and

Whereas, dredging of harbors and existing Federal navigation channels in marine sanctuaries is likewise key to maintaining and maximizing the efficiencies of waterborne commerce;

Whereas, otherwise activities such as commercial fishing in sanctuaries must not be impeded;

Be It Therefore Resolved that the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force supports the establishment of any number of marine sanctuaries based upon preserving shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, provided provision is made to allow safe and efficient waterborne commerce to continue in those waters.