WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today presented a Partners in Conservation Award to the Battle of the Atlantic Expedition for collective efforts in the preservation of historic World War II shipwreck sites in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” off the North Carolina coast.
In a July 2008 multi-partner mission, baseline data were collected in several sites that included underwater wreckage of German U-boats, British naval vessels, and US Merchant Marine ships lost during the war. This data, gathered through scientific mapping and photo and video documentation, will allow for future monitoring of both cultural and environmental changes of these “war graves.”
The program seeks to educate the local diving community on the fragile nature of these unique historic resources and their significance in telling the full story of World War II of the Atlantic coastline.
“The Partners in Conservation Awards demonstrate that our greatest conservation legacies often emerge when stakeholders, agencies, and citizens from a wide range of backgrounds come together to address shared challenges,” the Secretary said. “Through the commitment of federal, state and academic partners, the Battle of the Atlantic Expedition not only gathered valuable data on several shipwrecks that occurred during the World War II attacks off the North Carolina coast but also promoted the significance of the preservation of the maritime history of the United States.”
The Battle of the Atlantic award was one of 26 national awards to individuals and organizations presented at a ceremony at Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C. to honor “those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others.”
The 26 Partners in Conservation Awards recognize conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of a total of 600 individuals and organizations including landowners; citizens' groups; private sector and nongovernmental organizations; and federal, state, local, and/or tribal governments.
The expedition was brought together under the leadership of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Project partners included the National Park Service's Submerged Resources Center, Minerals Management Service, East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies, University of North Carolina's Coastal Studies Institute; the University of North Carolina's Department of Cultural Resources, and the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.
For more information, including historical information on each of the vessels documented during the expedition and video clips from each site, please visit http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/missions/battleoftheatlantic/.
The following groups and individuals share the Partners in Conservation Award:
East Carolina University
Minerals Management Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Chad M. Meckley
National Park Service
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute