The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is establishing a pre-designation Sanctuary Council to provide advice and recommendations for a proposed sanctuary. The organization previously announced it was starting the designation process for a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Erie, adjacent to Pennsylvania in June 2023. 

The sanctuary portion of Lake Erie would allow NOAA to protect the region's maritime heritage resources, including a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks. 

Applications for the advisory council will be accepted now through August 28, 2024. 

According to NOAA, a sanctuary advisory council is a community-based advisory group consisting of representatives from various user groups, government agencies and the public at large. The role of the council is to provide advice to NOAA on the proposed designation and operation. 

Council members will also act as liaisons to their communities, building a strong connection between the sanctuary and stakeholders. 

The advisory council for the proposed Lake Erie National Marine Sanctuary will consist of 15 voting members and alternates who represent a variety of community interests, from recreation and tourism to education and outreach.

Additionally, several federal, state and local government entities will hold non-voting seats.

NOAA is seeking applicants for the following seats:

  • Citizen-at-Large (2 members, 2 alternates)
  • Commercial/Charter Fishing (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Divers, Dive Clubs and Archaeology (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Economic Development (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Education (K-12) (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Higher Education (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Historically Underserved Populations (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • History, Maritime Heritage, and Public Interpretation (2 members, 2 alternates)
  • Maritime Industry (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Outdoor Recreation (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Recreational Fishing (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Research, Science and Technology (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Tourism and Marketing (1 member, 1 alternate)
  • Youth (ages 14-17) non-voting (2 members, 2 alternates)

Those interested in learning more about the proposed Lake Erie National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council can attend two webinars to explain the roles and responsibilities of council members during the following dates and times: 

Applications can be found on NOAA's website