ICYMI: Wave of Actions Announced at 2024 Capitol Hill Ocean Week

New announcements, including the designation of Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary, will benefit coastal and Great Lakes communities, habitats, and economies. 

Washington, DC – June 6, 2024—This week, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) unveiled a slew of announcements that will support U.S. protected waters, including the designation of 1,722 square miles of eastern Lake Ontario in the state of New York as the U.S.’s 16th national marine sanctuary. Announced during Capitol Hill Ocean Week – an annual gathering that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation hosts each year, bringing together Great Lakes and ocean advocates in Washington, D.C. – these initiatives will enhance conservation efforts, support economies, and preserve the natural histories of coastal communities. 

“As the convenor of Capitol Hill Ocean Week, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is proud to help launch forward-looking ocean solutions that will support U.S. protected waters and the people they serve,” said Joel R. Johnson, President and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. “The designation of Lake Ontario NMS kickstarted a wave of actions announced this week that will drive the blue economy in coastal and Great Lakes communities.” 

See below the list of announcements made this week. 

  • The Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary has been designated as the U.S.’s 16th national marine sanctuary, encompassing 1,722 square miles of eastern Lake Ontario in New York. This designation will foster education, research, tourism, and recreation opportunities in New York communities as well as protect a rich national maritime history. 
  • The Biden-Harris administration announced a suite of strategies to enhance ocean decision-making: 
    • The National Ocean Biodiversity Strategy will maximize the ocean’s benefits – such as food, clean air and water, climate regulation, and cultural identity — to people by using and expanding biodiversity information that will protect marine ecosystems. 
    • The National Aquatic eDNA Strategy will enhance and deploy cost-effective eDNA technologies to efficiently analyze marine life and inform better ocean policies, offering a faster and more efficient alternative to traditional species censuses. 
  • NOAA announced a slate of new projects in support of a Climate Ready Workforce, which will train and place Americans in good-paying jobs that will help make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change in ways that also strengthen coastal economies. 
  • Marine Economic Satellite Account statistics were released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showing the marine economy, including offshore wind development, accounted for $476.2 billion, or 1.8 percent, of current-dollar U.S. gross domestic product in 2022. 
  • Wildlife biologist and renowned TV host Jeff Corwin, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Hearst Media Production Group announced a new storytelling partnership taking shape to explore the wonders of our sanctuaries, highlighting the work of the Foundation and NOAA to protect them, and reaching a broad new audience of future ocean stewards. 

These announcements align with broader U.S. ocean and climate goals and will ensure that national marine sanctuaries continue to benefit coastal communities and boost local economies.  

National marine sanctuaries support coastal communities and drive economies by providing jobs and opportunities for people to discover, recreate, and form life-long connections with these spectacular places. They connect people and communities with endless opportunities for discovery as well as safeguard our seascapes, protect species and habitats, and preserve a rich cultural and maritime heritage. 


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at marinesanctuary.org 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications