September 14, 2006
Lake Erie Awards
Presented to shipwreck preservation organization
and TO A leader of cuyahoga river
OH – The 2006 Lake Erie Awards were presented September 7, 2006 to Cuyahoga River protectionist James White and to
the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team, Inc. (MAST). Sam Speck, chairman
of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission and director of the Ohio Department of Natural
Resources made the presentation, which is given annually to an individual and
organization that has demonstrated exceptional stewardship of Lake
of Lake Erie’s natural and cultural
features requires local volunteers. The commitment of people such as Jim
White and of the many volunteers with the Maritime Archeological Survey Team is
essential to our effort to protect and restore both Lake
Erie’s environment and economy,” Speck said.
James White is executive director of
the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization. In that role, he
coordinates local efforts to restore the Cuyahoga River,
which has been designated by the International Joint Commission as an Area of
Concern. That designation triggered the development of a Remedial Action
Plan, a strategy for public and private sector partners to work toward
correcting impairments in the river. Through the U.S. EPA’s American Heritage
River program, White serves as
“River Navigator” for the Cuyahoga River.
Additionally, he created the Cuyahoga-Lake
to merge needs of environmental restoration with innovative environmental
technology and economic development. This effort has attracted $1.8 million
in federal funds to replace aging sheet steel bulkheads along the Cuyahoga River ship channel with an
environmentally friendly, cost-effective alternative.
takes a regional view of Lake Erie restoration
that is very refreshing,” Speck said. “Although his work is
primarily on the Cuyahoga River, he understands that all major tributaries must
be restored in order for Lake Erie to fully
recover. Therefore, he is an advocate for long-term, sustainable
watershed management programs throughout the Lake Erie basin and indeed the
entire Great Lakes region. He goes well
beyond his area of responsibility to link together the larger community of Great Lakes stakeholders.”
addition, Jim understands that the environmental benefits of restoring Lake
Erie must be coupled with economic benefits for North
Coast communities and Ohio as a whole.
He is quick to seek cutting-edge technology that will bolster the economy while
improving conditions in the Cuyahoga
River,” Speck stated.
the award for MAST were Michael Wachter, past-president, and Georgann Wachter,
Maritime Archaeological Survey Team
is a volunteer group with more than 200 members, mostly Ohioans, dedicated to
preserving the submerged cultural history of Lake Erie.
The group has surveyed five Lake Erie shipwrecks
and has placed the first six mooring buoys at Ohio shipwreck sites. Their efforts
have increased preservation of shipwrecks, contributed to diver safety and
increased tourist visits to Ohio’s North Coast.
pointed out that MAST is actively involved in providing educational courses to
the public about Ohio’s
shipwrecks. “As the shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake
Erie has a reputation for fierce storms over the open water,
which, at one time, caused many ships to be lost. Fortunately, thanks to
modern storm-tracking technology, ships’ captains can receive advanced
warning of approaching foul weather. Today, Ohio’s
Lake Erie shipwrecks have become a fascinating
part of our submerged cultural history, and MAST is helping Ohioans understand
more about them.”
interest in these shipwrecks increases, it’s important that they be
preserved so that their value as a tourism venue won’t be eroded by
scavenging. We recognize MAST’s efforts in this area as
well,” Speck noted.
Lake Erie Awards were presented at the 2006 Lake Erie Conference, held at Lorain County
The conference also featured the release of the Ohio Lake Erie Action List,
steps that state agencies will take over the next two years to protect the
lake, and presentations by scientists whose research has been funded by the
Lake Erie Protection Fund. The fund is supported by revenues from the
sale of Lake Erie license plates.
Further Information Contact:
J. Hammett, Ohio Lake Erie Commission