Friday, March 30, 2012

David Suzuki Foundation works with B.C. bottom trawl industry to reduce habitat impacts

By Scott Wallace, Sustainable Fisheries Analyst

Today is a landmark day in the history of the B.C. trawl industry and marks a precedent-setting change in how the groundfish bottom trawl fishery operates in B.C.'s rich ocean environment. A suite of measures was announced that will reduce the impacts of this fishery on sensitive seafloor habitats. This announcement was the result of a collaborative effort between environmental organizations and the trawling industry, which was then supported by government.
For years environmental groups have been pressuring the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to reduce the environmental impacts of bottom trawl fisheries in Canada. In fact, my first task at the David Suzuki Foundation in 2006 was to prepare a report on bottom trawling in Canada. Although DFO has recently developed some policies for addressing habitat damage resulting from bottom trawl fisheries, there have been no actual changes on the water. Until now.

About three years ago, DSF started engaging in casual conversations with the groundfish bottom trawl industry about how the fishery could be improved. There was distrust on both sides. Industry claimed environmental organizations were wrongly portraying their fishery. We responded that industry needed to defensibly demonstrate they were addressing habitat impacts. This led to additional conversations involving other environmental groups, particularly the Living Oceans Society, and resulted in measures that both industry and the environmental organizations involved feel are a new standard for the management of bottom trawling habitat impacts in Canada.

One of the driving factors behind these changes has been an increased demand for sustainable seafood in the marketplace as a result of programs like SeaChoice. Most of the fish caught by this trawl fishery are sold to North American markets. Within this market, nearly every major retailer has committed to a sustainable seafood procurement policy. In recent years, SeaChoice secured sustainable seafood partnerships with the Overwaitea Food Group, Safeway Canada, Federated Co-op, and Whole Foods Canada, leading them to demand more sustainable seafood products from producers. The SeaChoice program currently ranks several species of fish coming from the bottom trawl fishery as 'red' (avoid), primarily due to the unaddressed habitat impacts, including damage to sensitive cold water corals and sponges. In order for the B.C. groundfish bottom trawl fishery to maintain and expand markets, it needed to reduce the negative effects it was having on sensitive habitats.

There are three primary changes that will take effect on April 2:

Defined boundaries for the fishery,

individual limits on coral and sponge bycatch, and

a reporting and review protocol if a combined catch of coral and sponge in excess of 20 kg occurs in a single tow.

In addition to these management measures, a review committee has also been formed to ensure that the new measures are working as planned and to address other issues concerning habitat impacts.
In terms of numbers, the overall allowable trawling area is now about 20% smaller or ~ 8200 km2 less than where the fishery has operated historically. In very deep waters (over 800m), the allowable area has been reduced by 65% from the historically trawled area. The use of individual bycatch limits for coral and sponge is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Since 1996, each vessel has carried an onboard independent observer who records the catch of all species and now will also be responsible for recording the catches of coral and sponge. If a vessel exceeds their allowable individual limit they will need to either purchase additional quota from other vessels or be tied to the dock. The idea is that the individual skipper takes full accountability for their behavior.

The combined new management measures have been designed to provide assurances to conservation organizations and seafood retailers that the B.C. bottom trawl industry is reducing their impacts on sensitive seafloor habitats. In the coming years we will continue to work with the groundfish trawl fishery to help realize the successful implementation of these measures and evaluate their effectiveness. We will continue to report on progress and undertake renewed sustainability assessments of this fishery once the measures have been implemented and evaluated.

No one stands to benefit more from a healthy marine ecosystem than those who harvest fish. The long term viability of any wild fishery is dependent on a healthy ecosystem, which of course includes habitat. This shared value between harvesters and conservation organizations provides a focus for continued improvement to how we manage fisheries.

Thanks to the David Suzuki Foundation

Kathy Dowsett

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Beauty of the Dive

Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & ob...Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & obt'd Image:Plongeur bouteilles.jpg id'd there as (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks Natalie---this about sums it up!!!

Diving on a shipwreck, I look up while inside a cabin and see a pool of air from my exhaled bubbles. The pool shimmers, mirror-like, and for a moment I see my own image gazing back at me. I make a face at my reflection and breathe out. The exhaled air hits a different part of the ceiling. Large bubbles burst into a thousand tiny particles upon impact, and then slither like quicksilver up to the larger pool. Magic!

I am obsessed with scuba diving. How do I love diving? Let me count the ways:

1. I love the descent. The moment I deflate my buoyancy compensator and slip below the surface, the physics of my environment changes. I am in free fall. I am in control. I love to stretch my arms out and swoop down to the reef like a bird. When I am not with students, I descend as fast as I can equalize my ears. The speed of the water rushing past me gives me a high. I come to a perfectly controlled arrest, stopping a few feet above the reef in an effortless hover. It's like sky diving, but without the possible splat.

2. I love the surface. A good portion of my dive is spent looking up. The surface roils like some foreign atmosphere above my head. I like seeing waves upside down - little bubbles of air are trapped below the surface and sparkle in the light. On a clear day, I can see clouds, birds, and the diffused yellow circle of the sun. Looking at the surface keeps me aware of the vastness and power of the ocean. It makes me feel insignificant and secure at the same time. I am a miniscule being tucked comfortably beneath a blanket of water.

3. I love the silence. The terrestrial world is cacophonous. Until I get underwater I have to endure the rattle of the boat engines and the static-y white noise of the wind on my ears. Below the surface the upstairs world fades away. With the exception of the rush of my bubbles and an occasional crunch as a parrotfish takes a bite of coral, the environment is completely silent. I am only forty feet below the everyday world, but I might as well be light years away. For a short period of time, I am alone with my thoughts and at peace.

4. I love the sunlight on sand. On a bright day with clear water, rays of light shine all the way to the ocean floor. I am hypnotized by the playful antics of light beams on white sand. During their journey through the water, the rays break into little squirming rainbows which remind me of a psychedelic screen saver. I have spent whole dives ignoring turtles to staring intently at these dancing, shining bits of wonderful.

5. I love the sense of adventure. Even if I am swimming over a reef that I have visited a thousand times, I still have the sense that I am sneaking around a new and almost forbidden place. I could peek around a coral head and find a shark or unexpected seahorse. Every dive is different and I always feel a little bit like Jacques Cousteau underwater.

6. I love divers. Scuba diving makes me feel like I am part of a special, exclusive club. My friend Denise McDonald explained it well, "We all have our own secret language, hand signs and meeting places." Scuba divers share an admiration of the underwater world that few non-divers can understand. I have a sense of belonging - similar to being part of a secret society or a community of like-minded individuals.

Thanks to Natalie

Kathy Dowsett

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 26, 2012

Diving into the mysteries of the deep

Some people like to read mysteries.

Ross Richardson likes to dive for them.

He traces his interest in shipwrecks back to a contest in first grade when he wrote about a wreck. That fascination quickly developed into a passion.

“I love solving mysteries,” says Richardson, who is from Lake Ann, Michigan, which is about 15 miles west of Traverse City. He has focused his interest on the Great Lakes, mainly on nearby Lake Michigan, and to a lesser extent on lakes Huron and Superior.

While serving on the sheriff’s public safety dive team of Michigan’s Benzie County, Richardson, 44, was doing ice-diving training on Higgins Lake in central Michigan with a woman whose father had disappeared there years before. Her story of her dad’s disappearance intrigued Richardson. So did the demise of up to 50 aircraft and countless ships in Lake Michigan.

He not only started diving for wrecks of ships and planes but established a website on the subject and is writing a book. It is called “The Search for the Westmoreland, the legend, the history and the discovery of Lake Michigan's Treasure Ship.” He hopes to have the book published by this summer.

The Westmoreland sank during a severe snowstorm on December 7, 1854, off Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Point, “probably the most notable landmark in the Lower Peninsula,” says Richardson. One of the early propeller-driven ships, the Westmoreland had lost its engine power during the storm. “They tried to get the sails up but one was imbedded in ice and the other was ripped apart (by the gale).” Hopes of bringing the ship to the safety of South Manitou Island’s harbour were dashed. Half of the 34 occupants of the ship died, while the others made it ashore in a lifeboat.

The ship had been the subject of many searches in the ensuing 150-plus years until Richardson located it on July 7, 2010, using Side Scan Sonar. Three days later he dove to the site and confirmed the finding. He found it was well preserved, a fact he attributes to its resting place in an uncharted hole near Sleeping Bear Dune that sheltered it from currents. It was sitting upright and was nearly intact.

Richardson’s sources in researching vanished ships and aircraft include old newspapers. Using Google news archives, digitalized newspapers can be searched using key words. “I get an amazing amount of information there. Half my information is from there,” he says. “The other half is from local historical societies and micro-film in libraries.”

Typically, for a ship missing for so long, the Westmoreland’s legend has grown to include unconfirmed stories that gold and 280 barrels of whiskey were among the cargo being transported. One story maintains that the lumberjacks on board, thinking they were going to die, started drinking the whiskey and belatedly tried to launch the last lifeboat. It was the largest lifeboat, but it was tipped over when the ship’s crane caught it on its side, dooming the lumberjacks. It is known, at least with more certainty, that the cargo included oats, flour, grass seed and beef quarters. Most of it was from Chicago but some came from Milwaukee.

Richardson has also located three uncharted wreck sites at Sleeping Bear Point near a 450-foot sand dune. He says there are big parts of a ship, an old schooner and the remains of an old sailing vessel with tons of artefacts around it. During an October gale in 2010 a large section of a shipwreck washed ashore, so he looked a couple of miles offshore and found the wreck sites.
“I think they have been there since the late 1800s,” Richardson says, adding that they are in the heart of the Manitou passage, which was “almost the highway of its day.” Sleeping Bear Point jutted out into this passage and became a hazard during storms.

One of the missing aircraft that intrigues him is a Northwest Airlines DC-4 that crashed into Lake Michigan on June 23, 1950 during a storm. All 55 passengers and the three crew members died but the aircraft has never been found. At that time, it was the largest death toll in an aircraft crash.

The National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) team of novelist and marine archaeologist Clive Cussler has come for the last eight or nine years to search for the plane but has yet to locate it, says Richardson. “These guys are the best.”

His website also chronicles missing persons in the area of his research and bodies that have not been found.

A technical diver qualified to go to depths well beyond the range of recreational divers, Richardson’s major focus is on shipwrecks.

While he doesn’t have a problem with a museum or historical society having a relic from a shipwreck to display, he isn’t interested in it for himself: “I believe in conserving wrecks. I haven’t taken anything off a wreck.”

For Ross Richardson, the thrill is in the search: “It’s amazing how many missing things there are that are solvable mysteries.”

Read Michigan Mysteries by Ross Richardson

Kathy Dowsett

March 2012::Update::Ross is humbled to announce that he has signed a publishing deal with Arbutus Press for his upcoming book “The Search for the Westmoreland", Lake Michigan’s Treasure Shipwreck”, due to be out this summer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Woman the Plastic Industry Can’t Beat

Emily Utter was instrumental in getting the City of San Francisco to ban plastic bags. Now she works on staff with BagIt The Movie to help other cities and towns do the same. In spite of the plastic and chemical industries millions of dollars and best efforts, Emily and the BagIt team are making huge progress.

Here is a bit of the story.

Why are plastic bag fees or a plastic bag ban the answer? What about the argument that education is the answer?

Some people have said that they think public education is the answer and that just kills me because we tried public education and it is not working. Cities spend a ton of money on educational campaigns and it is for a negligible result, but when we see what legislation does – it is so obvious that it is what works.

What are examples of what you have seen legislation do for the plastic bag problem thus far?

In Washington D.C. when they implemented a five cent fee on paper and plastic bags within weeks 80% of people were refusing bags. It is a simple and practical piece of legislation that has an immediate and obvious impact.

Are cities and towns pushing for plastic bag fees because it is easier to pass than a plastic bag ban?

I think it depends on the personality of the city and the council. Some people against fees for plastic bags in Seattle were saying, ‘If they really cared about the environment they would ban the bag instead of charge for it.’ I think some people don’t understand how the fee actually results in a positive behavior change. Some cities think it makes more sense to ban plastic bags all together. Some cities think it makes more sense to charge a fee for plastic bags. Austin just banned all bags.

How would I go about getting a plastic bag ban in my town?

If it is just an individual that wants to get involved I always recommend people look for other groups in their area that are either interested in doing it or are currently doing something about the plastic bag problem – a Sierra Club Chapter, a Surfrider chapter or an environmental club are good places to start. Once people do the research they often find there are already groups in their area working on the plastic bag issue.

Then, once a group has formed they should check out the city council to determine the environmental leader within the council that would sponsor plastic bag ban or fee legislation and set up a meeting to see if the council person identified is interested in sponsoring legislation.

Are there are general challenges that everyone is facing regardless of town size or structure in passing plastic bag legislation?

The plastic industry. They are extremely well funded and they will send their representatives all over the country to fight the legislation.

How are people overcoming the challenges the plastic industry is creating?

Perseverance. We see the impact of plastic on our health and on our environment. There is a lot passion and understanding about this issue now. We see the plastic bags in our neighborhoods, in our parks and on our beaches. People know there are practical and easy ways to take care of this problem. We have seen this in Europe for years and now the US is finally starting to catch up. With all of the global examples, we are also seeing global momentum for this issue. It gives us the mental support to keep at it. It is not like we are proposing something totally out of the blue. Everything we are proposing is practical and it has a really obvious impact that we can see immediately.

It seems like the plastic industry would be kind of scary, especially to little towns.

I think for some of the smaller towns the plastics industry just kind of says, ‘We are not going to bother.’ They are focused on bigger targets and being strategic about it. Everyone looks to California for environmental legislation and the plastic industry is really trying to battle us here. Given the focus on suing California cities, some of the non-Californian cities have had an easier time because all of the plastic industry resources are going to California. I think if Denver brought the plastic bag issue up again you would see the plastic industry bringing in the big guns again. I know Chicago is starting to work on legislation and we will see the plastic industry come out in force. This is also why the plastic industry shows up to the smaller towns outside of Chicago because they see when a smaller town outside of a bigger city does it it spurs other cities around them to do it.

When is the plastic industry winning this battle?

Seattle actually passed a paper and plastic bag fee in 2009, but then the American Chemistry Council flew in signature gathers and paid them double what normal petition signature gathers get paid, $2 per signature instead of $1 per signature and they canvassed outside of supermarkets to get the issue on the ballot. Then they spent over a million dollars on a campaign to overturn the plastic bag fee. We ended up losing on the ballot. We did not lose by a lot, but it was really disappointing. Seattle didn’t give up and recently passed a ban on plastic bags that will go into effect this July.

In California, the plastic industry backed a state bill that prohibits fees on plastic bags so we could no longer pass plastic bag legislation that was based on fees. That is why in California we are passing legislation that bans plastic bags all together because it is illegal now to charge for them.

How do you and BagIt support people and towns in banning the plastic bag?

There are different things we can do. For communities closer to the BagIt headquarters in Telluride some of the staff and stars of the film have gone out to speak or do Q & A. The other piece is we help people arrange screenings of BagIt. We do not just give advocates the DVD. We give them a tool kit to help people engage their towns. We want it to be a comprehensive experience. We don’t want people to see the film, get riled up and then just go home. We want to give them something to do after they see the film.

I respond to as many people in as places as I can. I work with people who have never done policy in their lives and I work with people who have worked on legislation for a long time. Our tool kits are the first easy thing we provide and then as people get into the issues I can provide one on one strategy consulting at no cost. With some cases, for example things near San Francisco, I can provide direct lobbying on behalf of BagIt. We don’t, right now, have the resources to send me all over the place, but I would love to do that. We try to support people at whatever level they are at.

What about successes the BagItteam has seen thus far?

Bellingham Washington has passed plastic bag legislation and now other parts of Washington are doing the same. Seattle just passed a ban. In Colorado, Telluride was one of the first; Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale also have passed plastic bag legislation. San Francisco is a recent great success. We are up to about 90 cities where we have provided information.

It is interesting to me that Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, other entire African countries can ban this, but states and cities in North America struggle with it. Is this because in Africa there is less influence from the plastics industry?

It probably has something to do with it. I think the influence of the American Chemistry Council is huge. In Canada there are similar industry influences. I think in some African countries the single use culture has not proliferated the same way that it has here.

Are you finding any truth in the argument that the transition from the single use bag to a reusable bag is difficult?

I honestly haven’t. San Jose, California implemented a ban on plastic bags and a charge on paper bags in January and by and large the impact has been very positive. What I always say to people is there are certain things you never leave the house without – your keys, your wallet or your purse, your cell phone – bags just need to become something that you don’t leave the house without. I think the economic disincentive of having to pay for a bag is what makes people remember to bring their own bags.

Plastic bags have only been around since the 70s. The folks that are older than me once lived without the plastic bag and I think it is really important to remember that.

Thanks to The Delicious Day

Kathy Dowsett

Monday, March 12, 2012

6 Tips for Transitioning to Cold Water Diving

English: Technical divers preparing for a mixe...Image via Wikipedia

Transitioning to cold water diving after years of Caribbean diving was challenging but manageable. Here 6 tips for warm-water divers considering cold water diving.

1. Cold Water Diving Requires Additional Weight:

Divers use thicker, more buoyant wetsuits (or drysuits) in cold water, which requires the use of more weight. This is obvious, and most cold water dive centers will assist divers in selecting the appropriate amount of weight for thick exposure protection.

However, there is an additional aspect of cold water diving that a diver should consider before deciding on the amount of weight to carry on his first few cold water dives. Until a diver gains experience in cold water, the initial surprise of cold water on his face may make normal breath control difficult. In my case, I was not able to exhale fully at the surface to begin my descent as I normally would, and I has to grab an extra few pounds from the captain to descend. An experienced cold water diver my size would need eighteen pounds of weight. I needed twenty pounds on my first few dives because I couldn't get the air completely out of my lungs.

2. Gearing Up for Cold Water Diving:

Plan ahead. Once a diver is wearing his gloves, it becomes very difficult to make small adjustments such as tucking mask skirt under the hood. On my first dive, I looked like a bit of an idiot when I put on all my gear but my mask, hobbled over to the entry platform, and then had to ask the divemaster to tuck my mask skirt into my hood because I waited to put my mask on until the last moment and couldn't get the skirt under the hood with my gloves on. This sort of humiliation would have been avoidable if I had simply planned ahead.

3. Be Prepared for the Initial Cold Water Shock:

Divers transitioning to cold water diver should be prepared for the short initial, shock of entering cold water. For the first few moments in the cold water, a diver may feel that he cannot breathe easily. This is a physiological reaction known as the Mammalian Diving Reflex, and it is perfectly normal when a person's head is submerged in cold water. It will pass. I managed my reaction to the cold by floating on the surface with my face in the water until I could control my breathing and felt comfortable. After about twenty seconds I felt great, and was ready to start my dive.

4. If a Diver Feels Cold, His Air Consumption Rate Will Increase:

When a diver's body becomes cold, he will burn more calories to keep warm. He will use more oxygen and his breathing rate will increase. If the diver becomes very cold, he will shiver and his air consumption will increase more from the extra work of shivering. Thicker wetsuits and drysuits, as well as the extra weight necessary to compensate for this thicker exposure protection, will increase a diver's drag, and thus his air consumption rate. I used a thick wetsuit for my dives, a noticed an increase in my air consumption rate as I became chilled near the end of the dives. What is the solution to this problem? Wear proper exposure protection. I would have done better to use a drysuit or to end the dive once I became chilled.

5. Use Regulators Appropriate for Cold Water:

Most dive shops servicing cold water diving destinations rent or sell regulators appropriate for cold water diving. It is vital to use a regulator approved for cold water diving, as the first stage of a a non-cold water regulator may “freeze” due to normal cooling from gas expansion combined with chilly water, causing a free flow. Divers should also be sure to review standard protocols to avoid causing a regulator free flow, even when diving with cold water regulators. The divemaster on our boat recommend that the divers avoid purging the regulator or inflating the BCD while inhaling. These actions cause increased demand on the regulator first stage and may trigger a free flow. Also review the procedure for handling a regulator free flow.

6. Mask Clearing in Cold Water – Be Prepared:

Most divers find that the shock of cold water on the face makes exhaling to clear a mask difficult in cold water. This reaction can be overcome with practice, but divers must experience the cold water shock a few times before they learn clear their masks easily. It's not fun, but practicing mask clearing in cold water is essential to being safe on cold water dives. The first time I cleared my mask in cold water, I was taking a drysuit certification course and the instructor had all the students practice clearing their masks in about 3 feet of very cold water. We all thought this was ridiculous given our level of experience until we tried it. About half the class panicked and stood up. After two or three attempts, however, we became accustomed to sensation of cold water on out faces, and could clear our masks easily.

I work and dive in warm water. When the subject of cold water diving comes up, my clients frequently shudder and claim, “you will never get me in into that cold water!” This is silly! With proper preparation and gear, a diver shouldn't be cold – even in cold water. When it is done correctly, cold water diving should be just as comfortable as warm water diving, and equally as enjoyable.

Thanks to Natalie Gibb

Kathy Dowsett

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, March 9, 2012

More Michigan Mysteries

Dr. James P. Smith

Somewhere beneath the wide waters of Michigan’s Higgins Lake, rests the body of Dr. James P. Smith. Dr. Smith was only 34 years old when he disappeared, along with his boat, in 1961. He went fishing with his brother in-law, John C. Newman, whose body was later recovered.

Excerpts from an article in The Roscommon Herald-News, dated November 30, 1961, describe what transpired:

The two men and their families came up to the Smith’s cottage, located at Pine Bluffs, for the weekend. The men went spearing about 7:00 pm Saturday night, using a new model 14 ft aluminum boat, 10 H.P. motor and a portable generator to operate their spearing lights. They told their wives they expected to fish until about 1:00am and when they failed to return by 2:00 o’clock Mrs. Smith notified Sheriff Oliver Britton.

Sheriff Britton and Deputy Raymond Kingdale, of Higgins Lake, searched the shoreline and roads near the lake until 4:30am when they notified the State Police at the Houghton Lake Post. Chief Deputy Lloyd Petty, of Houghton Lake, also joined the search Sunday morning.

An intensive search was started on the lake at daybreak by the authorities, using five skin divers, and Army “Duck”, State Police plane and several smaller craft.

State Police skin divers are pictured above preparing to search the lake bottom from an army “Duck” used in rescue work by the Houghton Lake Post. The worked in pairs and were able to stay down in the cold water only 30 minutes at a time. High winds and lake turn-over hampered their vision and made diving difficulty

The body of John C. Newman, 42, a Dow Chemical Co. lab supervisor, and brother-in-law and fishing companion of Dr. Smith was recovered Sunday morning in about 21 feet of water near the Forestry Camp Ground on the north side of the lake after being spotted by a State Police plane.

Dr. Charles Oppy, Roscommon County coroner, who remained on the scene nearly all day Sunday, said Mr. Newman’s death was caused by drowning and apparently in deep water.

Dr. Smith’s body was never recovered. He left behind a wife, and two daughters, Valerie and Laurie. Laurie Smith Tudor was two days away from her ninth birthday on that Fall day when her father was lost. After 30 years of living in Cincinnati, Laurie moved to Higgins Lake permanently in 2002. Remarkably she took up scuba diving and joined the sheriff’s dive team, doing evidence and body recovery. Her father was never far from her mind. In 2008, Laurie began a project to raise funds for the sheriff’s department to purchase a side scan sonar unit. She was successful and in her spare time searches for her father and with that side scan unit and that experience has made her one of the most skilled side scan operators in the region.

Please keep Laurie in your thoughts and prayers as she continues on her quest. Her story is truly an extraordinary story.

Thanks to Michigan Mysteries and Ross Richardson

Kathy Dowsett

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Long-lost shipwrecks discovered in Lake Huron

'Project Shiphunt' documents remains of ships that went down in 1889 and 1905.

A team of underwater explorers has found two long-lost shipwrecks in northeastern Lake Huron.

Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary on July 2011 announced the discovery of the schooner M.F. Merrick and the steel freighter Etruria in deep water off Presque Isle.

They were detected during an expedition called "Project Shiphunt," which involved scientists and historians from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and five high school students from Saginaw, Michigan.

Both ships sank after colliding with steamers in dense fog.

The 138-foot-long Merrick went down in 1889. Five crew members were killed. The intact hull was found resting upright on the lake bottom.

The Etruria, which was 414 feet long, sank in 1905 — just three years after it was launched. Today the steamer sits upside down in deep water.

NOAA said the wrecks are being documented in 3-D imagery for the first time. A documentary about the expedition, sponsored by Sony and Intel, has aired on the Current cable network.

"This research will help us protect the Great Lakes and their rich history for future generations," Jeff Gray, superintendent of Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary, said in a NOAA news release. "It is also an extraordinary opportunity to inspire the next generation of explorers and introduce them to technology and experiences that could shape their futures."

This report includes information from The Associated Press and NOAA.

Kathy Dowsett