The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the draft plan to designate Mallows Bay in Nanjemoy, Maryland as a National Marine Sanctuary. A public meeting discussing the draft plan will be held on Tuesday, March 7 at the Charles County Government Building (200 Baltimore Street, La Plata) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mallows Bay's designation as a National Marine Sanctuary will be the first for the state of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
"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 second public meeting will be held on Thursday, March 9 at Anne Arundel Community College (101 College Parkway, Arnold) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. NOAA is holding public meetings and accepting public comments on the draft plans through March 31, 2017. To submit comments, visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov/mallows-bay/
Based on widespread and overwhelming community support, the plan calls for the protection of the historic World War I Ghost Fleet, shipwrecks dating back to the Revolutionary War, and archeological sites sacred to Native Americans. Although the sanctuary focuses solely on these historic resources, this tidal area of the Potomac River is also critical to the overall health of the Chesapeake and the ongoing efforts to restore the Bay and its rivers and streams.
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 System, visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov
. To learn more about Mallows Bay, visit www.CharlesCountyParks.com/parks/mallows-bay-park
. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 866-269-9006.