NOAA proposes expanding site off Carolina coast
Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2018
During its meeting Friday, the North Carolina Maritime History Council received a report on the proposed boundary expansion of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
The presentation was made by one of the council members, William Sassorossi, a maritime archaeologist with the sanctuary and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and David Alberg, superintendent of the sanctuary. They reviewed proposed maps of the expanded boundary and sought input on the proposed expansion from the council.
NOAA publicly released its proposed expansion proposal Jan. 8, 2016. The public was able to comment on the proposal up to March 18 of that year.
“For more than 40 years, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary has honored the USS Monitor and the memory and service of her officers and crew,” said Alberg in a Jan. 8, 2016, news release. “The proposed expansion is the result of a collaborative public process and provides an opportunity for us to honor another generation of mariners who rose to the country’s defense when war erupted off America’s shores. Our goal is to protect these ships, these hallowed grave sites, and preserve the special stories they can tell about our maritime and cultural heritage.”
“After several years of scientific and archaeological assessment and in coordination with the public, NOAA is proposing to expand Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off North Carolina’s Outer Banks to include additional maritime heritage resources. The proposed expansion would protect a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks that currently have little or no legal protection, including one of America’s only World War II battlefields,” reads the MNMS website.
Situated just 16 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary protects the shipwreck of the famed Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor. The Monitor, while under tow to Beaufort sank during a storm on Dec. 31, 1862, and was not discovered until 1973. Today the sanctuary is managed by a staff of seven full-time employees through a combination of education, archaeology, marine science and regulatory programs. Staff members are located at offices in Newport News, Virginia.