|the last few decades||Divers enjoy diving the shipwrecks off the coast of NC. Divers found them, divers identified them and dive operators serve the public interest in visiting them. Wreckdivers hold an awe, passion and respect for these wrecks and invest countless hours and thousands of dollars in research, discussion and diving these pieces of our history.|
|Spring 2008||NOAA contacts local dive operator concerning their intent to dive and document the NC Submarines. Their intent seems friendly and cooperative.|
|Jul 7, 2008||Immediately before it is scheduled to begin, articles are published announcing NOAA's Battle of the Atlantic expedition to commence. The first article|
|Jul 8, 2008||On the NC Divers website forum: a thread is started titled "Raising u-352." Admittedly probably just a rumor, but evidently people were already talking, and continued the discussion over many pages on the site.|
|Jul 21, 2008||The second article, published in multiple media outlets|
|Aug 03, 2008||The third article|
|Aug 11, 2008||On the NC Divers website forum: a second thread is started titled "Raising U-352, chapter 2." This time concerning NOAA's slanderous media articles. Again, the discussion continues over many pages on the site. Divers are clearly interested and concerned.|
|Aug 20, 2008||http://www.ncdivers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6122&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=30
Two quotes copied from extensive debate on the NC Divers Forum website:
"In a nutshell, NOAA has started a new project to survey the 3 commonly visited U-boats off our coast. They plan to expand the survey over the next few years to include more WWII wrecks. People are unsure about where it is all leading. Some NOAA reps (see the emails to Bradish) say they are just interested to see how things look today. Others see it as the precursor to an expansion of the Monitor NMS (see other NOAA reps quoted in news articles, as well as the BOA research design documents). Some of the things that NOAA reps have been quoted saying in news reports about the disrespectful behavior of divers doesn't match what regular divers in the area observe. NOAA was posting regular updates about the summer surveys, but they seem to have stopped (and maybe removed some documents from their website?) after the reaction from the local diving community was less than a warm embrace" by -f
"I had heard through the grape vine that they were trying to expand the Monitor Sanctuary into, the Graveyard of the Atlantic National Marine Sanctuary." by -B
|Sept 14, 2008|
|Oct 22, 2008||October 22nd at 6:30PM in
Raleigh at the Museum of Natural Sciences.
An informational meeting for the NC dive community is set up at the request of a member of the NC Divers website/forum. A collaboration between Dave Farrar of Gypsy Divers, Robert D. Bradish of NC Divers, and NOAA's Dave Alberg, with the specific goal of introducing the NOAA Sanctuary Program to divers in the area. Included in the meeting topics was "what the possibility of a "Graveyard of the Atlantic" Sanctuary might entail". According to individuals who were present at that meeting, NOAA received many comments, some rather energetic, vehemently against the thought of including more NC shipwrecks in any Sanctuary area.
In retrospect, this preliminary meeting influenced the tone of subsequent NOAA public meetings. Once exposed to public hostility regarding sanctuary expansion, NOAA was able to regroup and approach the public in a more offensive manner rather than being caught on the defensive again. Unfortunately this Oct 22 meeting was purely informational, and did not count towards the public input period of the official scoping meetings.
October 22 is the first day of DEMA in Las Vegas, so many NC dive operators were unable to attend.
Dec 3, 2009
|A small, private meeting took
place with Dave Alberg. The most notable revelation was the invitation
extended by Alberg for us to visit Thunder Bay on NOAA's dime, to see
how well things turned out up there.
That begs the question: if no plans to expand here, why offer a free trip to local dive operators?
Dec 3, 2008
|A series of "Scoping
Meetings" take place regarding the Monitor Sanctuary. As part
of their Management Plan Review process, the public was invited to
provide input. The meeting at Pine Knoll Shores (Near Morehead City) was
rather governmental, with a dominant NOAA presence. Upon entering the
room that evening, it felt as if NOAA had brought out all of their staff
to stage an unnecessarily heavy-handed event. Dry and full of procedures
needed to orchestrate and document all public comments, it was rather
uncomfortable and frankly felt like a grand waste of time. Leave it to
the government to make it complicated.
Since the stated purpose of the meeting was to manage the Monitor Sanctuary, it seemed odd that the public attendance was in concern over the concept of expanding the sanctuary. However, there is no adequate avenue to voice opinions over the concept of expanding the sanctuary, so the entire meeting was a gray area where that is concerned. I heard a few in attendance say they were not going to say the word "expansion" at all, for fear that NOAA would simply count the number of times the word was said, and make a case for growth that way!
|Dec 12, 2008||A letter promoting the NOAA viewpoint, written by someone with clear insight into the agency and its agenda.|
|Feb, 1 2009||The Management plan review period has ended,
and collected public comments will be posted online for review by March
Any proposals or plans concerning the future of the Monitor Sanctuary will be created by NOAA: specifically Dave Alberg himself.
DAVE ALBERG IS THE BOTTOM LINE WHERE THIS EXPANSION IDEA IS CONCERNED.
ANY PROPOSAL MADE IN THE FUTURE WILL ORIGINATE FROM HIS DESK.
|Feb 9, 2009||We receive a copy of Gary Gentile's February 2009 newsletter. In it, Gary issues a dire warning that NOAA is continuing its efforts to expand jurisdictional over shipwrecks. Rather than creating a new sanctuary to encompass the "Battle of the Atlantic" wrecks, expanding the boundaries of existing sanctuaries seems an alternative plan: since establishing new sanctuaries is currently prohibited by Congress. Gary urges readers to voice their objections to congressional representatives.|
|Feb 13, 2009||After following up on the information in Gary Gentile's newsletter, we decide the information is valid and pass the newsletter on.|
|Feb 13, 2009||MNMS Advisory Council Meeting,
11:15 agenda item "Expansion Committee-Dave Alberg"
Not so ambiguous when it's on the agenda...
.pdf format .doc format
|(NOAA claims that no expansion committee exists, the agenda item was simply to explore the need for an expansion committee.)|
|Feb 15, 2009||Some divers who received our email/newsletter
have contacted NOAA or people familiar with NOAA movements, and received
an adamant denial, that this was not true. NOAA is expected to
"respond and clarify". We send a follow-up email that it is
NOAA's job to deny and placate, until the time comes that the actual
plans are announced. The government isn't lying when they say 'there are
no plans for expansion at this time'. Long range plans are indeed not
made public at this point.
We decide to create this timeline and trace back WHY it is so obvious to us that Gary Gentile is not wrong.
Please review the MNMS Agenda (posted above) from the Feb 13, 2009 meeting.
MEETING MINUTES BECAME AVAILABLE IN LATE APRIL, 2009 (10 weeks later)
Feb 17, 2009
|We began to urge
the public to contact your
political representatives and tell them the Status Quo is working just
fine here in NC. Suggest that NOAA's concerns are overblown and can be
easily addressed on the diver level with a grassroots education program. Tens of millions of your tax dollars can be better used
Better yet, GO to the MNMS Advisory Council Meetings and VOICE YOUR OPINION!!
||Sources tell us that NOAA's jurisdiction
falls within the Commerce Department.
Dr. Jane Lubchenco
|IMPORTANT CONTACT INFO:||
David W. Alberg Sanctuary Superintendent Monitor National Marine Sanctuary
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
100 Museum Dr. Newport News, VA 23606
Phone: (757) 591 7326 Cell: (757) 869 4291 Fax: (757) 591 7353
Carteret County local government
Dare County (Hatteras & Outer Banks communities)
|US State representatives: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml#nc|
|Walter B. Jones represents the 3rd district. The Third District is home of the world famous Outer Banks, encompassing most of eastern NC. Carteret, Hyde and Dare counties are on the NC coast, and are the most potentially impacted by NOAA.|
|Richard Burr and Kay Hagan are the US Senators representing North Carolina.|
|Apr 2, 2009|
|PLEASE, if you have an opinion about the possibility of NOAA imposing regulation on our shipwrecks, Dave Alberg (or his boss, or his boss' boss) needs to hear from you. He claims that despite the 'public opinion', "his phone never rings." WE SUGGEST that interested divers/fishermen CALL HIM (or his boss, or his boss' boss) directly and voice your opinions.|
Apr 3, 2009
|A 300+ member dive club in Pennsylvania has expressed concerns over the potential restriction of access to wrecks off of the NC coast. They have offered to help share their public opinions with the powers that be. That is fantastic! An edited copy of the letter can be found here.|
Apr 14, 2009
|In response from receiving a
letter from the above-mentioned dive club, Carteret County's Economic
Development representatives met in person with Dave Alberg to determine
NOAA's intentions concerning expanding the MNMS. It was the County's
regular monthly meeting, and they wanted to know from Alberg what his
plans were. He again was unwilling/unable to state that there were any plans for a
sanctuary expansion. It is established that there will be an Expansion
Committee formed to find out if a sanctuary is wanted/needed in this
So, to update the Feb14 posting, there isn't an expansion committee- (yet). And there are no plans to expand- (yet).
|Gary Gentile's latest newsletter
provides more detail concerning his educated viewpoint concerning NOAA's
tactics. He references this website link in his newsletter, and provides
valuable background information on how this new endeavour of NOAA's is a
repeat of past history.
Click here for text of the entire newsletter
"Although NOAA is mandated to hold public hearings and listen to public concerns, NOAA is under no obligation to act upon those concerns. NOAA holds hearings merely as lip service to satisfy its Congressional mandate, then goes ahead and does whatever the hell it wants. This is not a prediction, but a statement of past behavior - behavior that is entirely without exception."
Gary Gentile may well use inflammatory words to get his point across- but his warnings are based on facts and history does tend to repeat itself. We echo his warnings and are watching this expansion drama play out before our eyes.
April 20, 2009
COMMERCIAL FISHING INTERESTS
NOAA's movements signaling their intention to control the waters off the coast of NC will result in a huge impact on Coastal Communities and Fishing: both recreational and commercial. Some representatives of commercial fishermen are already voicing an opinion that they are NOT IN FAVOR of ANY CHANGES WHATSOEVER in the MONITOR SANCTUARY.
April 20, 2009
|INTERESTING UNANSWERED QUESTIONS:
1) Why did NOAA spend so much time and money last summer doing the archaeological surveys on the submarines? That is one question that points so obviously to their intent, yet Alberg continues to glaze over the answer and obfuscate the issue with statements like "there are no plans to expand." Sure, they wanted to determine/document the current status of the wrecks- but the deeper question is WHY?
2) When has the government EVER spent so much time and money on a project when they don't know where it is headed? How convenient to deny any plans exist and thus make it impossible for the public to respond. Local officials cannot possibly form an opinion about this impending expansion when there is nothing formal for them to review and comment upon. What a cruel and subversive way to go about achieving a goal. (No wonder Gary Gentile uses words like 'nefarious' and 'totalitarian'. They ring true.)
Apr 21-23, 2009
Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee will meet April 21-23
in Annapolis, MD.
A draft agenda is available here.
ANYONE who is able to attend is encouraged to do so. This meeting involves the Sanctuary Board and their advisors. The people above Dave Alberg. It is a 3-day meeting, but the agenda outlines key areas which might be of interest to the public- as well as public comment periods.
May 8, 2009
|There are people
already campaigning for a seat on the expansion
committee which doesn't exist.
If it seems like we are overreacting to NOAA's overtures, please read between the lines.
May 9, 2009
| A handful of divers have
used our submission form to document calls made to or conversations with
Dave Alberg. One diver posted a summary
of his conversation on the NCDivers website. One interesting
observation: "any solution could be worse than the actual problem."
Another submission mentioned that Alberg's request for phone calls
was an effort to 'know your enemy.' We concur.
MNMS Agendas and meeting minutes are posted here, and show a history dating back to Nov 2006. It seems the idea for "protecting" the wrecks was pushed back then by Bill McDermott of Nags Head's Outer Banks Dive Shop. His comment "the wrecks are disappearing at an accelerated rate" (however subjective) led to a request for help in setting standards for protection and conservation. It's amazing to think that in just a few short years, NOAA has caused so much controversy. It's interesting to note that the Nags Head dive shop has already begun profiting on the concept, selling 'protect the wrecks' t-shirts. The individual who is already campaigning for a seat on the expansion committee could well be affiliated with that same shop. What an idea- to get the power of the federal government behind a subjective statement and start making money off of it! Still, no mention of the impact that Mother Nature has on the shipwrecks.
As stated in our comments about the Feb 13, 2009 meeting, the MNMS has an expansion committee. It was formed on May 16, 2008 and is clearly documented in the minutes from that meeting. http://monitor.noaa.gov/advisory/meetings.html The internal expansion subcommittee officially became a working group on Feb 13, 2009. Details are in the minutes.
Jim Bunch, the current recreational dive chair on the MNMS
advisory committee made an interesting statement at the Oct 2008
meeting: "A discussion then pursued detailing ships sunk during the
of the Atlantic and the possibility of expanding the research to
many other wreck sites. Mr. Bunch commented that overall any expansion
of the sanctuary's interest in other shipwrecks was met with approval in
general by the dive community and that he was optimistic if expansion
ever becomes an option."
NOAA IS NOT YET 'HEARING' ANY PUBLIC OPINION EXCEPT THAT WHICH AGREES WITH THE IDEA TO EXPAND THE MONITOR SANCTUARY.
THESE EVENTS, COMBINED WITH THE OVERT ACTIONS (detailed in this timeline) OF NOAA LED US TO WRITE A LETTER TO BE READ AT THE MAY 19 ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING. NOAA's actions show their attitude of 'we'll-have-our-way no matter what it takes'. There really is a 'master plan' at work here, and voices contrary to the group-think are up against a strongly biased agency. It's all right there in their meeting minutes. http://monitor.noaa.gov/advisory/meetings.html
MAY 19 2009
MAY 19 is the date for the next Monitor Sanctuary meeting, at the Graveyard
of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, NC.
The first PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD STARTS AT 11:00am. NOAA staff will be there en masse.
(on-the clock, of course. More of your tax dollars at work)
|The weather on May 19 was very windy and the Ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke did not run. We instead drafted a letter and asked that it be read during the public comment period at the meeting today, and also be included in the meeting minutes. To view our letter, click here.|
|MAY 21, 2009||About the May 19
Evidently our letter was read at the meeting and a hard copy was submitted for inclusion in the minutes. A healthy turnout (about 40) of local divers and fishermen voiced concern and objection. The idea that NOAA wants to shut down ALL the wrecks off the NC coast to both diving and fishing: within a 1 mile radius of each, is circulating in an email. In that email is mention that a NOAA representative would have to be present on each boat requesting activity in any of the protected areas. While this idea might be extreme in this case, it IS based on the history of the Monitor wreck area. If you want the government to STAY OUT of the water off the NC coast, now is the time to have a say about how your tax dollars are being spent.
|May 31, 2009||More info on the May 19
meeting: the Monitor Advisory committee will be adding 3 more seats to
represent recreational diving: one primary and 2 alternates, making a
total of 4 seats. The NOAA website should be advertising this change
within another week, and the process can take months to
The working group to "explore expansion possibilities" was also started. 5 council members will represent NOAA and outside members have not yet been named.
just read this and talk amongst yourselves.
|June 28||The dive season is well underway. Many divers
are amazed when hearing about the expansionistic activities of NOAA, and
that there is no mention of the damage done to the wrecks by weather and
salt water exposure. The elitist mindset taken by archeologists is also
a topic of dismay in the recreational dive community. We often wonder
about the hypocrisy of NOAA in their claim to be 'protecting' the
Monitor shipwreck while having torn it apart to recover the
The next chapter: Dave Alberg stated in a radio interview that he was interested in discovering shipwrecks... is this what we want our tax dollars to be spent on? As expensive as it is to search for a shipwreck, imagine the inflated cost of such an endeavor when taken on by the federal government! Who is it, exactly, thinking this is a good idea?
|August 2009||NOAA has completed another round of
'documentation dives' and the media have reported on this season's
More detailed information coming soon.
NOAA (your tax dollar) is now in the business of hunting for shipwrecks
|NOAA press release on YP-389.
|Information on a New Presidential Task Force that is being developed to control ocean resources (see link below).
It says right in the "PRINCIPLES" of this Task Force:
The public comment period lasts until October 20, 2009
|Oct 6, 2009||Dear Friends of the Monitor NMS,
We are pleased to announce that we will be holding our quarterly sanctuary advisory council meeting on Monday, October 26, 2009 at the Monitor NMS office located at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606.
An agenda will be posted on the web site the week prior to the meeting, but we wanted to let you know that the public commenting period will be from 11:00 to 11:30 AM.
If you have any questions or would like to submit comments in writing, please don't hesitate to email or call.
Shannon S. Ricles
Education and Outreach Coordinator
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary
100 Museum Dr.
Newport News, VA 23606
|April 30-May 4, 2012||MNMS has a new "Draft Plan" and held
5 scoping meetings this week. Although they are not 'planning' an
expansion on any official level, it isn't difficult to read between the
lines. Someone wants the Monitor Sanctuary expanded, and one could
easily extrapolate that the NC submarines are the first target.
One very pertinent question is: why can't NOAA maintain their weather
buoys in the ocean off of our coast. There seems to be no time or money
to provide the public with weather and ocean data that has been
extremely useful to anyone venturing into the ocean off of the coast of