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Lake Michigan communities looking to apply for marine sanctuary status

TWO RIVERS, WI (WTAQ) - Communities along Lake Michigan from Port Washington to Two Rivers can apply to become marine sanctuaries.

The designations could bring more protections for natural resources, and more research into various shipwrecks in the big lake.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designates marine sanctuaries. There's only one along the Great Lakes -- the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena Michigan.

It has a visitor center which attracts 80,000 people a year.

Manitowoc County officials say they could get tourism and educational benefits from a marine sanctuary status.

Officials say the new application area covers 875 square miles of Lake Michigan, with 33 known shipwrecks and possibly many more.

The NOAA expects the first applications for the new status this fall.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)