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. Click here for the press release. Click here for the Federal Register Notice.
Public comments will be accepted through March 18, 2016. Visit the Expansion web page to learn more about the proposed expansion, proposed expansion models, and how to make a comment.
Save the Date - February 8
The Sanctuary Advisory Council will hold a meeting on February 8, 2016, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, N.C. A public commenting period will be held from 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm. If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to make a comment, call 866-873-2206 and enter 4282677# when prompted.
Click here for the press release. For more information, contact William Sassorossi.
Mapping the Monitor
Faced with the challenge of creating the first detailed and accurate site plan of the USS Monitor, this August NOAA divers turned to photogrammetry, a 3D digital method of making measurements from photographs. While diving on the wreck, NOAA divers used still cameras to take high quality photos of the Monitor. Then, using special software, these images were combined to create a 3D model that can be manipulated and used to make precise measurements. This represents a huge leap forward from the previous sonar images, videos and photomosaics that have been used to study the shipwreck.
Monitor researchers had a bonus treat: amazing visibility! On the day of the expedition, the NOAA divers were able to see up to 100 feet-an almost unheard of clarity for this site. As a result, we now have some of the best images we've ever captured of the USS Monitor. Click here to read more about the expedition and to see the images and 3D model.
ANCHOR Program Launches
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary is pleased to announce the launch of a new program, ANCHOR, Appreciating the Nation's Cultural Heritage and Ocean Resources. ANCHOR is a voluntary program developed to create an active partnership with commercial dive operators to educate their customers about NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries, our nation's fragile maritime heritage resources, and diving and snorkeling etiquette that individuals can use to make a difference. The ANCHOR program's goals are for divers to enjoy our maritime heritage resources in a manner that has the least impact by promoting responsible diving etiquette. Click here for more information on ANCHOR.
The latest addition to the Monitor Trail was recently installed in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, N.Y., at the original site of the Continental Iron Works. The sign is the fourth to be installed as part of NOAA's Monitor Trail, which will eventually run from Beaufort, N.C. to New York, N.Y. The Monitor Trail identifies key locations and communities that are associated with the design, construction and history of the USS Monitor.
This newest sign describes the vital role that Continental Iron Works played in the construction of Monitor. The site is also the future home of the Greenpoint Monitor Museum. Three other Monitor Trail signs are located at the Richmond National Battlefield at Drewry's Bluff; the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, N.C.; and along the Noland Trail at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va.
Click here to read an article by the Greenpoint Star Weekly Northside News.
Monitor Team Discovers U-576 and Bluefields
NOAA announces that a team of researchers led by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the tanker Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII. Full press release. To learn more about the battle of the KS-520 and the discovery of the shipwrecks click here.
Outer Banks Maritime Heritage Trail
Coastal North Carolina is an extraordinary place. Surrounded by water, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a chain of narrow barrier islands separating the Currituck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sounds from the Atlantic Ocean. This dynamic environment has shaped the islands and its people for centuries.
We invite you to visit the Outer Banks through a series of ten videos and seven oral histories that take you along Highway 12 to a series of iconic places that make the Outer Banks unique. From the lighthouses to the wildlife, to the shipwrecks offshore, the Outer Banks' rich maritime heritage, culture and surrounding marine environment are reflected.
Click here for the Outer Banks Trail website. And teachers, check out the accompanying activity guide for students in our teacher section.
NOAA Surveyed Diamond Shoals Lightship LV-71
From August 31 to September 14, NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM), and other partners conducted a thorough survey of LV-71. The World War I lightship was sunk off the Cape Hatteras coast in 1918. In September 2014, NOAA and USCG signed a formal agreement allowing NOAA to survey the site as required under the National Historic Preservation Act. For more information on the agreement see the full press release dated Oct. 21, 2014. To learn more about the Diamond Shoals Lightship and the expedition click here. Click here to read the expedition press release.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Report Published
North Carolina's shoreline from Currituck Sound to Cape Fear is a dramatic marine setting influenced by dynamic environmental change. With barrier islands that stretch along hundreds of miles of coastline, from 20 to 40 miles offshore, these islands have been inhabited for thousands of years. This report is an initial review of the complex, dynamic and fascinating maritime cultural landscape of the "Graveyard of the Atlantic." To download a copy of the report click here.
Underwater Cultural Heritage Law Study
The protection and management of Underwater Cultural Heritage is a challenging topic, as it involves the interplay of U.S. statutes, maritime law, international law, and often complex issues regarding what law applies when and against whom it may be enforced. The Underwater Cultural Heritage Law Study is generated by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and NOAA to provide an analysis of existing laws protecting Underwater Cultural Heritage on the U.S. outer continental shelf, identify gaps and recommend legislative changes to address any gaps. To download a copy of the report click here.
Experience the Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum through the LIVE Web Cam.