On Air, YouTube: Sea Grant At State Fair
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

Syracuse, NY, Monday, September 14, 2015 - Earlier this week, New York Sea Grant wrapped up its second visit in as many years to the Great New York State Fair, which was held at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY from August 24 - September 7. This year, NYSG partnered with the Great New York State Fair and the Great Lakes Research Consortium on a new exhibit, "Lakes of NY: Over, Under, Around and Through, 21st Century Technologies."

In addition to Sea Grant's fully-equipped 2015 Discover Clean and Safe Boating educational vessel, visitors observed sensor buoys as well as in-water remote-operated vehicle (ROV) demonstrations, the latter of which were presented by four area school districts—Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Chittenango, Cicero-North Syracuse and Central Square School District—and SUNY Oswego.

As New York Sea Grant's Recreation/Tourism Specialist Dave White recently showed the newscasters Jeff Cole and Beth Hall at Watertown's WWNY-TV 7 News This Morning studios, a greater emphasis of this year's partner exhibit at The 2015 Great New York State Fair was placed on how high-tech equipment such as ROVs are used in studies to further science-based understanding of the Great Lakes.

As for the sensor buoys, White explains that the ROVs transmit weather, water temperature, wind and wave data to Web-based resources used by researchers, weather-casters and the general public.

During the final weekend of the Fair, the exhibit also served as a backdrop for a press conference during which representatives of four Lake Ontario counties announced interest in nominating southeastern Lake Ontario as a National Marine Sanctuary (NMS). The decision to do so would need to be made by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Grant's federal parent organization, which has designated 14 marine sanctuaries nationwide, with all but one in ocean areas. The only lake sanctuary currently is the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron in Alpena, Mich.

“Southeastern Lake Ontario is eligible for consideration due to the age, type and preserved state of numerous historic shipwrecks and many other features,” said Oswego County Administrator Phil Church. “Our goal in seeking an NMS designation is to establish international recognition for the unique features of the region and increase economic, recreational, scientific research and educational activities.”

As detailed in Church's press release (click here), the motivation to get southeastern Lake Ontario recognized as a National Marine Sanctuary is "to promote and increase visitation, understanding and appreciation of a unique area without interfering with its commercial and recreational activities.”

Reed Bohne, regional director of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, speaking at the proposed National Marine Sanctuary announcement for Southeastern Lake Ontario at NYSG's partner "Lakes of NY" exhibit. An map detailing the area being nominated as a potential NMS is included in the related press release (click here). Photo: Oswego County Public Information Office.

So far, the nomination has received strong support from numerous representatives of Oswego, Jefferson, Cayuga and Wayne counties and the City of Oswego, including Congressional representatives and State Senators and Assembly members, many of whom are quoted in the press release (click here).

A NMS must first be nominated by the public, which is why a series of meetings will be held across the four counties during September and October to gather input from Lake Ontario fishing charters, marinas and other waterfront businesses, waterfront property owners, environmental groups, elected officials and other stakeholder groups. The final decision would then rest with NOAA officials, who would hold public hearings in a process that could take several years.

For the first time in nearly 20 years the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has opened up the application process to add new National Marine Sanctuaries to the 14 already established regions in the world. This unique opportunity has prompted four Lake Ontario counties and the City of Oswego to apply for status for the southeastern Lake Ontario region.

The wreck of the St. Peter is one of the historic stories that springs out of the deep maritime history that marks southeastern Lake Ontario. The ship set out from the port of Oswego in October of 1898, laden with coal, headed to Toledo. It ran into a violent, early winter blizzard October 27, facing 70-mile an hour winds and 20-foot high seas.

As heard in the audio clip below, officials in Central New York hope that the possible National Marine Sanctuary designation for Southeastern Lake Ontario would boost tourism, and could bring thousands of new jobs, and other educational and economic benefits to the region.

This audio clip is from a discussion on WRVO radio. Based in Oswego, NY, WRVO Public Media is a part of the National Public Radio digital network. If you don't see the player above, it's because you're using a non-Flash device (eg, iPhone or iPad). You can download the mp3 file by clicking here (mp3). It may take a few minutes to download, so please be patient.

Four New York counties on the southeast shore of Lake Ontario want to designate the region as a National Marine Sanctuary to protect cultural and historic resources such as shipwrecks. The region would include Oswego Harbor, where a man peers through binoculars at Breitbeck Park. The Oswego lighthouse is in the background. Photo: Gary Walts / The Post-Standard.

Thanks to Janet Clerkin of the Oswego County Office of Tourism and Public Information for her help with resources for this news item.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published several times a year.

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