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Designation of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

08 July 2019

NOS headquarters and program office leadership visit Hampton Roads in Norfolk, Virginia.

Kayakers explore the waters of the proposed sanctuary at Mallows Bay, Maryland. Mallow Bay is the first new designated sanctuary site in over a decade. Photo: Kimberly Hernandez/Maryland DNR

I am pleased to announce the designation of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. The designation will be official and take effect following a review by Congress and the Maryland governor after a period of 45 days of Congressional session. Watch an informational video about the sanctuary and learn more by visiting its webpage.

Located about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., the sanctuary will protect the remains of more than 100 abandoned steamships and vessels built as part of America’s engagement in World War I. This is the first new national marine sanctuary in nearly 20 years.

The designation of Mallows Bay as a national marine sanctuary is an exciting milestone for NOS, and an opportunity for the public to celebrate and help protect this piece of our nation’s rich maritime history. NOAA, the State of Maryland, and Charles County, Maryland, will manage the national marine sanctuary jointly.

In the coming months and years, NOS and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries will work with our new partners to foster education and research partnerships, as well as support and enhance local recreation and tourism along this historic stretch of the Potomac River.

aerial view of Mallows Bay
Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, the first national marine sanctuary designated since 2000, protects the remains of the "Ghost Fleet" — a collection of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships and related vessels as well as other significant maritime heritage resources.


Nicole R. LeBoeuf
Assistant Administrator (Acting)
Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management,
National Ocean Service
Assistant Administrator (Actg.) Portrait

Nicole R. LeBoeuf
Assistant Administrator (Acting), National Ocean Service

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