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Mallows Bay’s Ghost Fleet

Help make this World War I legacy a National Marine Sanctuary

A World War I legacy on the Potomac River needs your help to achieve protection as a National Marine Sanctuary.
    Mallows Bay, on the coastline of Charles County, is the final resting place for 88 World War I wooden steamships of the U.S. Emergency Fleet. The ships were built between 1917 and 1919 to supply European and American troops.
    “It was a social endeavor unlike any in American history,” says Don Shomette, author of the book Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. “We came from nothing, to the greatest shipbuilding nation in the world.”
    At the height of the effort, ships were being built in 87 shipyards across the country.
    Yet none crossed the Atlantic before the war ended. Eventually many were scrapped and sunk at Mallows Bay. There, they joined remains of shipwrecks dating to the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. With more than 185 documented vessels, the Ghost Fleet is the largest assemblage of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere.
    Two years ago, Maryland proposed that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designate Mallows Bay and the 14 square miles surrounding it as a National Marine Sanctuary, the first created in over 17 years.
    You’re invited to comment on plans to shape the sanctuary, developed by NOAA, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Historical Trust and Charles County.
    Meetings are Tuesday, March 7 at the Charles County Government Building Auditorium in La Plata and Thursday, March 9, at Anne Arundel Community College Center for Applied Learning and Technology in Arnold. Presentations run from 6:30 to 7pm followed by comments to 9pm.
    You can also comment online at www.regulations.gov, (docket number (NOAA-NOS-2016-0149) or by mail to Paul Orlando, Chesapeake Bay Regional Coordinator; c/o NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office; 410 Severn Ave, Suite 207-A; Annapolis, MD, 21403.