Efforts to establish Lake Erie as a marine sanctuary are now in jeopardy.
Due to massive cuts in President Donald Trump's proposed budget, the application process has been placed on hold.
President Trump recently signed an order directing the Secretary of Commerce to refrain from designating or expanding any national marine sanctuaries.
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) accepted Erie County's application for the proposed Lake Erie Quadrangle National Marine Sanctuary.
The 760 square mile sanctuary would grant federal protection to historical and natural artifacts in Lake Erie, which includes more than 130 shipwrecks.
Under President Trump’s proposed budget, NOAA is now facing up to $990 million in cuts.
"There's truly been drastic cuts recommended by the president for that agency,” said Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper. “At this point, I think we're going to wait and see what the federal government does, in terms of the budget."
NOAA currently oversees 14 U.S. sanctuaries.