(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — A local official is open to the idea of designating Erie County’s shoreline as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary but insists public input is needed.

According to a release, Erie County Executive Brenton Davis thinks NOAA’s plan to signify Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie shoreline with a national marine sanctuary is a great opportunity for the region but said public input will be critical in determining whether and how to designate the area as a sanctuary.

“The idea of a National Marine Sanctuary to protect Erie’s maritime heritage, including a nationally significant collection of shipwrecks along our shoreline is a welcomed one, but we must do our due diligence to make sure this designation will not place any unnecessary restrictions on our economy, local property and business owners,” Davis said.

NOAA is looking to appoint local members to the official designation committee to vet the process. Members of the fishing and boating, diving, maritime history and tourism communities are of particular interest.

If you are interested and willing to serve, you can submit your resume via the Appointed Service Portal on Erie County’s website.

The release states the public will be crucial in determining the boundary for the proposed sanctuary, cultural and historical resources in the area, specific threats, the regulatory and non-regulatory framework, the name and more.

“Erie’s nomination excludes the Port of Erie from the sanctuary boundaries to ensure shipping and other commercial activities remain unaffected, we will lean heavily on this committee to make sure all of Erie’s interests are considered and not placing our economic future in jeopardy,” Davis added.

The public is encouraged to attend NOAA’s meeting on Wednesday, June 21, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Erie County Public Library – Blasco H.O. Hirt Auditorium at 160 East Front Street. You can learn more about submitting a public comment on NOAA’s website.