Community Members Chosen for Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

November 2020

Aerial of kayaker near shipwrecks
Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary protects and interprets the remnants of more than 100 World War I-era wooden steamships – known as the “Ghost Fleet.” Photo: Matt McIntosh/NOAA

On September 3, 2019, NOAA announced the designation of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary’s mission is to protect historically significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources in the tidal Potomac River as well as to enhance recreational, tourism, and economic opportunities. NOAA co-manages the sanctuary with the state of Maryland and Charles County Maryland.

Community involvement is vitally important to the management of all national marine sanctuaries. With that in mind, in June, NOAA publicly announced a call for membership for a new Advisory Council for the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. The members have been selected, and the first virtual meeting – which is open to the public – will be at 6:00 p.m. ET on Dec. 7, 2020.

To attend the meeting, please register in advance at GoTo Webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you are unable to participate online, you can connect to the meeting by phone at 562-247-8422, using the access code 170-191-799.

The Role of the Sanctuary Advisory Council

Group photo in front of Bay.
Members of the community pose together for a photo to celebrate the designation of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Kate Thompson/NOAA

“The local communities have been instrumental in leading the effort for a national marine sanctuary in Mallows Bay,” says Sammy Orlando, superintendent of Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. “We at NOAA are excited to have the new Sanctuary Advisory Council continue to represent local interests and to expand partnership 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 the 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 advise the sanctuary on how to best protect resources and put forth ideas for the sanctuary’s management plan.

Sanctuary Advisory Council Members

Sanctuary advisory councils draw from a diverse cross-section of community members. The Mallows Bay-Potomac River council consists of 15 voting members, with an alternate for each seat. Members serve three-year terms, and are limited to three consecutive terms.

Sanctuary Advisory Council

Voting Members:

  • Maritime Archaeology and History
    • Jay Haigler
    • William Utley - Alternate
    • Don Shomette
    • Margo Jackson - Alternate
  • Cultural Heritage
    • Lucille Walker
    • Sharee Williamson - Alternate
  • Recreation (2 seats)
    • Nicholas Kuttner
    • OPEN - alternate
    • John Stefancik
    • OPEN - alternate
  • Recreational Fishing
    • Eric Packard
    • Taylor Schmitz - Alternate
  • Commercial Fishing
    • Francis “Bill” Kilinski
    • Dennis Fleming - Alternate
  • Business and Economic Development (2 seats)
    • Alan Miller
    • George Anas - Alternate
    • Dan Hamiliton
    • OPEN - Alternate
  • Tourism and Marketing
    • Joanne Roland
    • OPEN - Alternate
  • Education (2 seats)
    • Maggie Ostdahl
    • Susan Gerbasi - Alternate
    • Eileen Abel
    • Lolita Kiorpes - Alternate
  • Research, Science, and Technology
    • Felix “Lee” De Cola
    • Maureen Hayes - Alternate
  • Citizen At-Large (2 seats)
    • Savanna Saunders
    • Anne Starke - Alternate
    • Deanna Wheeler
    • Paco Blake - Alternate

Non-voting Members:

  • NOAA/Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary
    • Paul “Sammy” Orlando
    • Jean Prevo
  • Maryland Department of Planning
    • Dr. Susan Langley
    • Elizabeth Hughes - Alternate
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
    • Nita Settina
    • Kelly Collins Choi - Alternate
  • Charles County Maryland
    • Eileen Minnick
    • Mark Belton - Alternate
  • DoD/Naval Support Activity South Potomac
    • Jeffrey Bossart
    • TBD
  • U.S. Coast Guard
    • LT Silvia Sigler
    • MSTC Alex Olbert – Alternate
  • State of Virginia
    • Paul Anderson
    • Elizabeth Moore - Alternate
  • Piscataway Conoy Tribe
    • Mario Harley
    • Mel Proctor – Alternate
  • Piscataway Indian Nation
    • TBD (Primary)
    • TBD (Alternate)
  • Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia
    • David Carpenter
    • TBD (Alternate)
  • Youth (less than 18 years old at time of application)
    • TBD
    • TBD (Alternate)