A vessel at low tide, showing the frame of its hull in the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary in Maryland. Photo: Don Shomette/ NOAA

New Mallows Bay Marine Sanctuary Needs Advisory Council

The Chesapeake Bay region celebrated when the ghost fleet of Mallows Bay on the Potomac River officially became a National Marine Sanctuary last year. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is looking for a few good people to join the new marine sanctuary’s Advisory Council.

Mallows Bay, a haunting historic site, holds more than 200 shipwrecks in an 18-square-mile area of the Potomac. Half are from World War I, while some others date back 300 years. The “bones” of the ships are often visible above the water line, making it a popular place to explore by paddlecraft.

The new Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary is run jointly by NOAA, Charles County, and the State of Maryland. It is the first ever national marine sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The 15 members appointed to the council will “provide advice to NOAA that supports the mangement plan.” The council will be made up of a variety of community groups, as the members will be dealing with priorities from maritime and cultural resource protection to recreation and tourism, as well as education and research.

Mallows Bay was already recognized as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, but Maryland applied for National Marine Sanctuary status back in 2014 with a large group of supporters. The designation was announced in June 2019.

NOAA is currently seeking applicants for the following 15 voting seats (one member and one alternate for each seat). Note that alternates must be from the same community organization as the member.

  • Maritime Archaeology and History (2 seats and 2 alternates)
  • Cultural Heritage (1 seat and 1 alternate)
  • Recreation (2 seats and 2 alternates)
  • Recreational Fishing (1 seat and 1 alternate)
  • Business and Economic Development (2 seats and 2 alternates)
  • Marketing and Tourism (1 seat and 1 alternate)
  • Education (2 seats and 2 alternates)
  • Research, Science, and Technology (1 seat and 1 alternate)
  • Commercial Fishing (1 seat and 1 alternate)
  • Citizen-at-Large (2 seats and 2 alternates)

Council meetings will be open to the public. For more information on the council, go to: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/mallows-potomac/involved/council.html

-Meg Walburn Viviano