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Port Washington group hopes to sink ship in Lake Michigan

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A group in Port Washington wants to sink a ship just off the coast of Lake Michigan.

The non-profit says it'll cost millions of dollars but bring much more to the area.

Tish Hase is the co-owner of Port Deco divers and she's also the president of the Shipwreck Education and Preservation Alliance or SEAPA, the group hoping to sink a ship off Lake Michigan.

"The plane's about 2 miles out, about 3,400 feet from the plane we'll be placing the big vessel in from the plane, about 70-80 feet of water we'll be placing some other vessels," says Hase.

It's a multi-phase, $9.9 million project, and the ship will help create a community of artificial reefs. It starts with sinking a large vessel, between 200 and 900 feet.

SEAPA has brought on Artificial Reefs international, they've sunk skips all along the east coast, often done with carefully executed explosions.

Hase is working with the Army Corps of Engineers and the DNR to get the right permits.

"With the deterorating fish we have in Lake Michigan, we don't see fish as we dive anymore," said Hase.

Hase says the sunken ship will create a habitat for fish, be an underwater classroom for universities to study invasive species and algae, create tourism, and make a big difference in conservation.

"We need it to preserve our great lakes, the great lakes is 20% of our drinking water for the world. If we don't preserve it and start protecting it and the native fish that are in it, we're not going to have it in 20, 30 years or 40," said Hase.

To find out more about the plans, visit our News Links section.

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