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NOAA - Proposed National Marine Sanctuary in Wisconsin

National marine sanctuaries are like national parks that exist within the ocean and Great Lakes.  They are all a bit different from one another, not just because of their geographic diversity, but because of the purpose and reason they exist.  Some sites protect specific species within a sanctuary, others protect all species within a sanctuary.  Still others exist to protect cultural resources - shipwrecks - like the proposed site in Lake Michigan.

The proposed Wisconsin - Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary is one of a small number of proposed sites that are in the process of being designated.  This happens when the public does several things: First, they have to want a sanctuary.  Second, they have to have a pretty good reason to have one (ie: they have marine life that needs protection or they have historic resources of national significance.  The latter is the case with Wisconsin.  The proposed site would help preserve and understand more than 40 historic shipwrecks, which help tell the story of Wisconsin as well as commercial development and immigration toward the west.

The goal of this short piece is to briefly introduce stakeholders, elected officials, businesses, and the general public to what a sanctuary might look like, who is involved, and what it will help protect and showcase to the public.  Ideally - and like other sanctuary sites - this would help bring tourism, world-class educational programming and outreach, while showcasing exciting discoveries about Wisconsin's past.

Filming inteviews for NOAA in Wisconsin
Earth Is Blue logo

Filming with Kate Thompson and Russ Green in Wisconsin.  Showing the variety of stakeholders and partners is a key part to the outreach.  Both for generating support, but also in developing the broader scope of the sanctuary - since it is based on a community-driven concept.

A big point of pride for me is having been behind the name and general concept of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries' Earth Is Blue campaign.

As far as government outreach and especially government video goes, this project was the best within the agency and set a high standard in terms of content and production value.  

My job as the documentary video producer was to oversee the production of a video a week and a flagship mini documentary once a month under the banner "Stories from the Blue" that was shared though social media.  Several of these pieces have also appeared at film festival including the BLUE Ocean Film Festival.  Earth Is Blue is the effort of talented writers and producers within the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.  From graphic designers, photographers, scientists and students, the campaign received the Administrator's Award for being a finely-crafted example of how NOAA should do outreach.

Below is a selection of Stories from the Blue.


1. Kate Thompson explores Big Momma coral in American Samoa (DJR)

2. David J. Ruck filming on Cannonball Beach, California (Matt McIntosh)

3. Kate Thompson interacts with a sea lion off the Olympic Coast (DJR)

4. Stories from the Blue logo (DJR)

5. Reef fish in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (DJR)

6. Lighthouse off Presque Isle in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (DJR)

7. Wreck of the D.M. Wilson, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (DJR)

8. David J. Ruck diving the Wilson in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Russ Green)

Razor Clam Dig
Carol Bernthal Anchor
Bruce Popham
Peter Taliva'a
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