Designation Set to be the First in the State

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration entered their Final Environmental Impact Statement and Final Management Plan for the designation of the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary in Charles County into the Federal Register earlier today. Mallows Bay is set to be the first national marine sanctuary in the state’s history.

“We are pleased to work with our state and federal partners to highlight one of the county’s national treasures,” said County Administrator Mark Belton. “Charles County is rich in history and as our Tourism tagline says, full of ‘Legends, Lore, and Room to Explore.’ I am proud we are taking these next important steps to preserve the beauty of Mallows Bay and highlight this attraction for visitors worldwide.”

The FEIS will contain the environmental impact statement, sanctuary management plan, draft Memorandum of Agreement for joint management of the sanctuary, and the draft Rulemaking. The posting signals the intention by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to designate the sanctuary by the end of 2019.

Mallows Bay-Potomac River is most renowned for the remains of more than 100 wooden steamships, known as the “Ghost Fleet,” which were built for the U.S. Emergency Fleet between 1917-1919 as part of America’s engagement in World War I and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary would preserve these important pieces of American history; enhance public access, education and research; and create business and job opportunities from tourism and outdoor recreation.

For more information about the National Marine Sanctuary designation, visit or For more information about Mallows Bay and the park’s amenities, visit