Photo by Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing, Duke University
First National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay
For the first time since 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has designated a new National Marine Sanctuary. The first of its kind in the Chesapeake Bay, the 18-square mile stretch of Mallows Bay was formally designated the Mallows Bay- Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary on September 3rd, 2019.
Located in Charles County Maryland, Mallows Bay is home to the largest Ghost Fleet in the Western Hemisphere. The Ghost Fleet includes over 100 World War I steamships that represent the expansive wartime effort across the nation from that time. The remains of these vessels now support a flourishing ecosystem, above and below the water. As part of the traditional lands of the Piscataway Indian people, Mallows Bay has also been the site of significant archaeological findings.
The protection of Mallows Bay conserves history, culture, and ecosystems for future generations to enjoy. This designation was made possible by collaborative work between numerous government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and individual citizens, including NOAA, Charles County Maryland, the Maryland Historical Trust, Chesapeake Conservancy, Friends of Mallows Bay, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.