Chesapeake & Coastal Service
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Tawes State Office Building, E2
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Located on the Potomac River only 40 miles from our nation’s capital, Mallows
Bay is renowned for its diverse collection of historic shipwrecks, recreational
opportunities and scenic beauty. Through a community-based effort, this Maryland
treasure in Charles County may become the first national marine sanctuary in the state of
Maryland and the first new designation in more than two decades.
During the June 2014 Capital Hill Oceans Week, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the American public could
again, for the first time since 2000, nominate nationally significant marine and
Great Lakes areas as potential new national marine sanctuaries. For years,
Maryland, Charles County and local communities and organizations recognized
Mallows Bay for its unique ecosystems, abundant recreational opportunities, and
historic national significance. Acting to enrich this unique maritime heritage
resource in Charles County, a community-based nomination effort kicked-off.
On September 16, 2014, the State of Maryland, along with over 60 supporting
organizations, submitted a nomination to NOAA recommending consideration
of Mallows Bay-Potomac River as the newest National Marine Sanctuary.
On October 5, 2015, the NOAA issued a Notice of Intent to consider the designation of Mallows
Bay in the Potomac River as a National Marine Sanctuary. NOAA held two public
meetings in November 2015 to solicit public comments, concerns, and visions for
the proposed sanctuary. Additional comments were submitted online through
January 15, 2016.
Throughout 2016, the department participated on an inter-governmental
committee that has been vigorously analyzing alternatives and preparing draft
designation documents, including a draft management plan, draft environmental
impact statement, proposed regulations and proposed boundaries for the
The inter-governmental committee is working to review and consider public comments before submitting documents to NOAA for final designation. If designated, the federal government, State of Maryland and Charles County will manage the sanctuary jointly.Upon designation, Mallows Bay will join an existing network of 14 sites from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Atlantic coast through the far-Pacific. Click here for National Marine Sanctuary FAQs.
Photos clockwise from top left, courtesy of Duke University Marine Robotics & Remote Sensing Program, Jim D'Intino, Don Shomette , and Paula Schiller.
Mallows Bay ship wreck in sidebar, courtesy of Jim D'Intino
believe that the designation of this section of the Potomac River as a
National Marine Sanctuary offers a tremendous opportunity to not only
promote world-class recreational fishing, boating, and tourism, but to
also advance our efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake watershed
and to educate the public about our nation’s maritime and cultural
history.” – Secretary Mark Belton, Department of Natural Resources
- Winter 2016 Natural Resource Magazine Article
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401