House votes to expand national marine sanctuary

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House has passed legislation expanding the boundary of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron.

The bill approved Tuesday extends the sanctuary's boundaries to include waters off Alcona, Alpena and Presque Isle counties in Michigan and east to the international boundary with Canada. It expands the area covered by the sanctuary to 3,722 square miles of water and 226 miles of shoreline, up from 448 square miles of water
and 115 miles of shoreline.

The expansion also adds 180 shipwrecks to the sanctuary, a federal-state partnership focused on preserving shipwrecks spanning more than 200 years of Great Lakes shipping history.

The measure sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, passed the House 286-107. It now heads to the Senate, where Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has introduced companion legislation.