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LCMM Receives NOAA Grant for Remote Sensing

For information contact:
Adam Kane, Nautical Archaeology Project Manager, 802-475-2022

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum receives $36,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum received a $36,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean Exploration (NOAA-OE). The funding will be used to finish the Museum’s landmark archaeological remote-sensing survey of the entire bottomlands of Lake Champlain searching for unknown shipwrecks.

In 1996 the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum began the first systematic side scan sonar survey of the bottomlands of Lake Champlain in an attempt to locate and document the lake’s collection of submerged cultural resources. The project, known as the “Lake Survey” was initiated in response to the 1993 discovery of zebra mussels in Lake Champlain, and their negative effect on submerged cultural resources. Between 1996 and 2003 nearly all of the bottomlands of Lake Champlain, almost 300 square miles, were surveyed. The survey was undertaken with funding from the Freeman Foundation, Lintilhac Foundation, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and the Lake Champlain Basin Program. Lake Champlain’s shipwreck inventory now stands at 250 with 70 previously unknown shipwrecks found during the Lake Survey. Products produced for the Lake Survey include the most detailed bathymetric map ever produced of Lake Champlain and five technical project reports.

This year’s survey will examine about 14 square miles of lake bottom. Additionally, Museum researchers will re-examine two areas where lake sloops from the late 1700s and early 1800s were known to have gone down. The survey, to be conducted in May and June 2006, will potentially yield new insights into Lake Champlain’s archaeological resources. The survey will be undertaken on board the 40-foot research vessel Neptune. As in all previous years of the Lake Survey, LCMM will collaborate with the Geology Department of Middlebury College in the geophysical analysis and post-processing of the data.