Chesapeake Conservancy Celebrates Milestone toward National Marine Sanctuary Designation for Mallows Bay – Potomac River

Annapolis, MD – Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO Joel Dunn issued the following statement in response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) announcement of the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement which marks the beginning of a public comment period to designate Mallows Bay-Potomac River as a National Marine Sanctuary. Mallows Bay – Potomac River is located approximately 30 miles south of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River in Charles County, Maryland. Its “ghost fleet” of historic shipwrecks includes more than 100 wooden steamships built for the U.S. Emergency Fleet during World War I, as well as many other wrecks from Revolutionary times through the 1900s.

“We are thrilled at the progress NOAA and our other partners in this community-led effort have made to establish Mallows Bay – Potomac River as a National Marine Sanctuary. The release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement by NOAA is a great stride toward the official designation and the permanent protection of this special place in the Chesapeake for present and future generations to enjoy.

“Mallows Bay – Potomac River is an incredible place to kayak or canoe. Nature has reclaimed these ships as artificial reefs, creating a unique place where wildlife and history have come together. It will be the first-ever National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake and the only sanctuary that will allow people to paddle in and among the wrecks.

“We encourage the public to provide comments, support the designation, and come to the public meetings.”

In October of 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a Notice of Intent to initiate a full public procedure and Environmental Impact Statement concerning the designation of Mallows Bay – Potomac River as a new National Marine Sanctuary. The Chesapeake Conservancy serves on the steering committee for the nomination and has been actively involved in advocacy during the designation process.  For more information, please visit, or Watch our video about Mallows Bay – Potomac River, or take a virtual tour.