NOAA Seeks Applicants for Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

May 2020

Last September, NOAA announced the designation of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, adjacent to Charles County, Maryland. Now, NOAA is establishing and accepting applications for a Sanctuary Advisory Council. Applications for the council will be accepted through July 1, 2020.

kayaker paddling among shipwrecks
Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects a collection of World War I-era steamships. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

NOAA’s newest sanctuary protects the remains of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships known collectively as the Ghost Fleet, as well as other historically-significant maritime heritage resources. The ships were built for the U.S. Emergency Fleet between 1917 and 1919 as part of America’s engagement in World War I. Their construction at more than 40 shipyards in 17 states reflected a massive wartime effort that drove the expansion and economic development of communities and related maritime services.

In addition to protecting historically significant artifacts and sites, Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary will serve as an important site for education and research. It will also provide opportunities for tourism and economic development. The area is popular with recreational kayakers and anglers, and natural resources will continue to be managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.

kayakers gathering on shore
Kayakers prepare to paddle in Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Brady Phillips/NOAA

Bringing Diverse Interests Together

When Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1990, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries was required by Congress to establish an advisory council for that site. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council was established in 1992, setting the tone for the rest of the National Marine Sanctuary System. Today, all sites within the National Marine Sanctuary System have an advisory council to foster a stewardship ethic within the community and facilitate communication with stakeholders.

Community involvement is vitally important to the successful management of a national marine sanctuary. By bringing diverse community interests together, a council will draw on the expertise of each member to provide advice to NOAA on management, science, service, and stewardship. Council members also serve as a direct link to community members, stakeholders, and constituents, and play an important role in building meaningful partnerships that will benefit the new sanctuary.

person fishing from a small boat
Sanctuary Advisory Council members create connections between the sanctuary and community members. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

The Role of the Sanctuary Advisory Council

“The local communities and partners were the true champions of this sanctuary designation” says Sammy Orlando, the Chesapeake Bay regional coordinator for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Just as their vision and commitment shaped the sanctuary, the advisory council will continue in that same spirit to help drive sanctuary programs and to inspire stewardship of these truly unique resources. We at NOAA are excited to be working together with the advisory council to enable a diversity of interests and opportunities.”

All sites within the National Marine Sanctuary System have an advisory council made up of community members. Council members serve as a bridge between NOAA and sanctuary communities. They help keep sanctuary staff informed of issues and concerns, while also providing information to their communities on the sanctuary’s behalf. The Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council will also provide advice to NOAA regarding the sanctuary's management plan, maritime heritage resources in the sanctuary, and mechanisms for protecting sanctuary resources against existing and future threats.

the shipwrecks of mallows bay
The Sanctuary Advisory Council will provide advice to NOAA about managing sanctuary resources, including shipwrecks. Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

Seeking Applicants from the Mallows Bay Community

NOAA is seeking applicants for 15 voting seats and one non-voting youth seat for the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Council seats will represent a variety of interests, from recreation and tourism to education and outreach. We are currently seeking applicants to represent:

  • Maritime Archaeology and History (2 seats)
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Recreation (2 seats)
  • Recreational Fishing
  • Commercial Fishing
  • Business and Economic Development (2 seats)
  • Tourism and Marketing
  • Education (2 seats)
  • Research, Science, and Technology
  • Citizen At-Large (2 seats)
  • Youth Seat (non-voting)

We aim to create a council that is balanced in point of view, experience, and geographic diversity. Candidates will be selected based on their expertise relating to the seat they apply for, their community and professional affiliations, and their interests regarding the protection and management of maritime heritage resources.

Council representatives will meet several times each year in half to full-day sessions at various locations. Council meetings will be open to the public and provide a place where community interests, support, and concerns are heard. Members serve three-year terms, and are limited to three consecutive terms.

If you are interested in applying for a seat on the Sanctuary Advisory Council, please visit the sanctuary's advisory council webpage to learn more. Applications will be accepted through July 1, 2020.

Before applying, please review the following documents:
Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Sanctuary Advisory Council charter
Sanctuary Advisory Council seat descriptions
Application cover letter

Application materials may be downloaded below:
Application form

Applications will be accepted through July 1. Submit applications by mail:
Paul Orlando
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
c/o NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
200 Harry S Truman Parkway, Room 460
Annapolis, MD 21401
Fax to: 302-200-7182