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Oct 24, 2005

Ohio Plans To Map Shipwrecks

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is making plans to map some of the shipwrecks beneath Lake Erie. The department's Division of Geological Survey is seeking a three-year, $220,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to start the mapping project. If the grant is approved, the state will add $63,000 to the project's budget. According to the Detroit Free Press, the project would mark four of the of the lake's zones as "underwater trailways." Previously, when officials tried to mark several Lake Erie shipwreck sites as preserves, the plan became embroiled in controversy with landowners over property rights.

According to the Great Lakes Historical Society, Lake Erie has at least 1,500 shipwrecks, many dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Roughly 600 of those wrecks are in Ohio. The maps to the shipwrecks would be published in guides that would include photographs, historical details and coordinates that would allow divers to locate the sites with global positioning equipment. The plan is based on a similar program in Wisconsin that maps shipwrecks in lakes Michigan and Superior.