New York Sea Grant has coordinated the establishment of four model scuba diving sites along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Scenic Byway.
This project involved:
- Identifying a variety of potential dive sites along the trail and assessing their suitability to become model sites with marked or buoyed access for visiting divers.
- Identifying local organizations or businesses willing to become site stewards to maintain buoys and perform site-specific management functions.
- Producing promotional brochures and dive guides for each site and a system-wide brochure.
- Adapting the guides for Internet distribution and interpretation.
The dive site system includes a beginner-level boat access dive site, a natural features dive site, an advanced deep historic dive site, and a shore-access dive site. These sites are examples of historic shipwrecks, non-shipwreck dive sites, artificial reefs, submerged land sites, activity-based interactive dive sites, drift diving sites, and others. Each is accessible from some point along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
Expectations of Site Stewardship
Initially, site stewardship is being modeled after the Oswego Maritime Foundation‘s management of the David Mills preserve and Save The River‘s stewardship of the Eagle Wing Group dive site. Site stewards may expand their roles and activities beyond these early examples as the system grows and matures. The Eagle Wings site is the simpler form of stewardship, where the steward has taken on sole responsibility for the site. The Mills preserve is more complex, involving a phase one archaeological survey and a land use permit from New York State to manage a state-designated submerged cultural preserve.
Minimally, site stewards will:
- Make an organizational commitment to steward the site over a multi-year period.
- Map and inventory the site, and provide site information to New York Sea Grant.
- Assume responsibility for buoying or otherwise marking the site to provide diver access in a manner that is safe for divers, boaters and the resource. This responsibility includes acquiring monies to purchase buoy equipment and replacements, through fund raising or grants or other means. The site steward owns the buoys or markers and has legal responsibility for them.
- Periodically inspect buoys and markers for wear, note changes in the site, and remove and store buoys during the off-season.
- Make an annual report to Seaway Trail of the site’s successes, changes, problems encountered.
Stewards may also undertake to:
- Publicize the site and promote responsible use of submerged resources.
- Augment Seaway Trail’s site interpretation.
- Seek state permits to conduct a phase one survey and obtain state designation as a submerged preserve.
- Perform other activities in keeping with the purpose of providing diver access and promoting responsible use and accurate public education about underwater cultural resources.
Site stewards will not own the dive site, and may not make representations of ownership or of acting as agents of New York State, Great Lakes Seaway Trail or New York Sea Grant. Ownership of the sites remains with New York State. Site stewards cannot make rules and regulations contrary to those provided in New York State law or its agency’s policies, nor restrict access to any individual or group, nor charge for access.
New York Sea Grant /Great Lakes Seaway Trail
To assist site stewards, New York Sea Grant and Great Lakes Seaway Trail has are provided funding for development of the promotional and interpretive materials for the first four sites, and for consulting services for the stewards. The success of the first four sites may be used to leverage additional funding for more sites along the trail.
For More Information
If your business, non-profit organization or community group is interested in becomeing a site steward, contact New York Sea Grant – Oswego at 315-312-3042, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.