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Mallows Bay- Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

Charles County, MD
Program Year: 2021

Charles County, Maryland is proud to be the home of the new Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, the first national marine sanctuary designated since 2000. The Sanctuary was formally designated on September 3, 2019 and encompasses an 18-square mile stretch of Potomac River coast in Charles County, Maryland. Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary is most renowned for its “Ghost Fleet,” the partially submerged remains of more than 100 wooden steamships that were built in response to threats from World War I-era German U-boats that were sinking ships in the Atlantic. Although the ships never saw action during the war, their construction at more than 40 shipyards in 17 states reflected the massive national wartime effort that drove the expansion and economic development of waterfront communities and maritime service industries. The fleet was brought to the Potomac River to be salvaged for scrap metal and then burned. The sanctuary also boasts a collection, of archaeological artifacts nearly 12,000 years old and a culturally rich landscape and includes sites that represent the history of Native American communities in the area, the once-booming Potomac River fishing industry and the Civil War. This sanctuary designation is vital in preserving our amazing history, protecting abundant wildlife for future generations to learn from and enjoy while helping to spur an increase in tourism and boost the local economy.

Ms. Eileen Minnick
Director of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism