NOAA announces draft plan to designate Mallows Bay a National Marine Sanctuary

Posted at 12:37 PM, Jan 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 12:37:43-05

In a state renowned for its history, this is perhaps one of the most unique sites in Maryland and now there is a plan to protect it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its draft plan to designate Mallows Bay in Nanjemoy, Charles County as a National Marine Sanctuary. If the draft plan goes through, it will be the first National Marine Sanctuary designation in the state of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Two public meetings to discuss the plan will be held in March.  The first at the Charles County Government Building in La Plata on March 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The second will be held at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Mallows Bay has been a hidden jewel in Charles County for a century. Thanks to President Obama’s marine sanctuary nomination, we will be able to share this with not only our residents but with new visitors to the county who will be able to explore and experience first-hand the heritage of our nation,” said Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy. 

The site is home to the historic World War I Ghost Fleet, as well as shipwrecks dating back to the Revolutionary War, and sacred Native American archeological sites.

The Ghost Fleet is made up of more than 100 wooden steamships. They were built as an emergency fleet between 1917-1919 and are currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Officials with Charles County Government say designating Mallows Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary would preserve this history; enhance public access to the site; and create business and job opportunities from tourism and outdoor recreation.