At the second annual Our Ocean conference, which opens today in Chile and will address challenges to marine ecosystems around the globe, world leaders will announce the extra steps they are taking to protect the world’s oceans. And the Obama administration is helping to kick things off by announcing plans to create two new marine sanctuaries — one in Maryland, and the other in Lake Michigan.
During the opening of the conference, President Obama is expected to announce plans for the sanctuaries in a video message to attendees. They’ll be the first new national marine sanctuaries designated by the federal government in the past 15 years. “These actions will protect waters of historic and natural importance,” Obama says in the video.
One of these sanctuaries will be an 875-square mile section of Lake Michigan off the shore of Wisconsin, which is recognized for its collection of nearly 40 known shipwrecks, some of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The other sanctuary is a 14-square mile area of the Potomac River, which includes Maryland’s Mallows Bay — an area known for its ecological significance, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and home to bald eagles, herons, beavers, river otters and numerous species of fish.
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