Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We have made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Feedback button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter BPart 922 → Subpart S


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 922—NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY PROGRAM REGULATIONS


Subpart S—Mallows Bay—Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary


Contents
§922.200   Boundary.
§922.201   Definitions.
§922.202   Joint management.
§922.203   Prohibited or otherwise regulated activities.
§922.204   Emergency regulations.
§922.205   Permit procedures and review criteria.
§922.206   Certification of preexisting leases, licenses, permits, approvals, other authorizations, or rights to conduct a prohibited activity.
Appendix A to Subpart S of Part 922—Mallows Bay-Potomac River Marine Sanctuary Boundary Description and Coordinates of the Lateral Boundary Closures and Excluded Areas
Appendix B to Subpart S of Part 922—Mallows Bay-Potomac River Marine Sanctuary Terms of Designation

Source: 84 FR 32603, July 8, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.200   Boundary.

The Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary consists of an area of approximately 18 square miles of waters of the state of Maryland and the submerged lands thereunder, over, around, and under the underwater cultural resources in the Potomac River. The precise boundary coordinates are listed in appendix A to this subpart. The western boundary of the sanctuary approximates the border between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland along the western side of the Potomac River and begins at Point 1 north of the mouth of Aquia Creek in Stafford County, Virginia, near Brent Point. From this point the boundary continues to the north approximating the border between Virginia and Maryland cutting across the mouths of streams and creeks passing through the points in numerical order until it reaches Point 40 north of Tank Creek. From this point the sanctuary boundary continues east across the Potomac River in a straight line towards Point 41 until it intersects the Maryland shoreline just north of Sandy Point in Charles County, Maryland. From this intersection the sanctuary boundary then follows the Maryland shoreline south around Mallows Bay, Blue Banks, and Wades Bay cutting across the mouths of creeks and streams along the eastern shoreline of the Potomac River until it intersects the line formed between Point 42 and Point 43 just south of Smith Point. Finally, from this intersection the sanctuary boundary crosses the Potomac River to the west in a straight line until it reaches Point 43 north of the mouth of Aquia Creek in Stafford County, Virginia, near Brent Point.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.201   Definitions.

(a) The following terms are defined for purposes of this subpart:

(1) Sanctuary resource means any historical resource with the Sanctuary boundaries, as defined in §922.3. This includes, but is not limited to, any sunken watercraft and any associated rigging, gear, fittings, trappings, and equipment; the personal property of the officers, crew, and passengers, and any cargo; and any submerged or partially submerged prehistoric, historic, cultural remains, such as docks, piers, fishing-related remains (e.g., weirs, fish-traps) or other cultural heritage materials. Sanctuary resource also means any archaeological, historical, and cultural remains associated with or representative of historic or prehistoric American Indians and historic groups or peoples and their activities.

(2) Traditional fishing means those commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing activities that were customarily conducted within the Sanctuary prior to its designation or expansion, as identified in the relevant Final Environmental Impact Statement and Management Plan for this Sanctuary.

(b) All other terms appearing in the regulations in this subpart are defined at 15 CFR 922.3, and/or in the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1401 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.202   Joint management.

NOAA has primary responsibility for the management of the Sanctuary pursuant to the Act. However, NOAA shall co-manage the Sanctuary in collaboration with the State of Maryland and Charles County. The Director shall enter into a Memorandum of Agreement regarding this collaboration that shall address, but not be limited to, such aspects as areas of mutual concern, including Sanctuary programs, permitting, activities, development, and threats to Sanctuary resources.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.203   Prohibited or otherwise regulated activities.

(a) Except as specified in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the following activities are prohibited and thus are unlawful for any person to conduct or to cause to be conducted:

(1) Moving, removing, recovering, altering, destroying, possessing, or otherwise injuring, or attempting to move, remove, recover, alter, destroy, possess or otherwise injure a Sanctuary resource, except as an incidental result of traditional fishing. This prohibition does not apply to possessing historical resources removed from the Sanctuary area before the effective date of the Sanctuary designation.

(2) Marking, defacing, or damaging in any way, or displacing or removing or tampering with any signs, notices, or placards, whether temporary or permanent, or with any monuments, stakes, posts, buoys, or other boundary markers related to the Sanctuary.

(3) Interfering with, obstructing, delaying or preventing an investigation, search, seizure or disposition of seized property in connection with enforcement of the Act or any regulation or any permit issued under the Act.

(b) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section do not apply to any activity necessary to respond to an emergency threatening life, property or the environment; or to activities necessary for valid law enforcement purposes.

(c)(1) All military activities shall be carried out in a manner that avoids to the maximum extent practicable any adverse impact on sanctuary resources and qualities.

(2) Any existing military activity conducted by DoD prior to the effective date of the regulations in this subpart and as specifically identified in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Final Management Plan for the Sanctuary (FEIS/FMP) is allowed to continue in the Sanctuary. The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section do not apply to those existing military activities or to the following military activities conducted by DoD:

(i) Low-level overflight of military aircraft operated by DoD;

(ii) The designation of new units of special use airspace;

(iii) The use or establishment of military flight training routes;

(iv) Air or ground access to existing or new electronic tracking communications sites associated with special use airspace or military flight training routes; or

(v) Activities to reduce or eliminate a threat to human life or property presented by unexploded ordnances or munitions.

(3) New military activities that do not violate the prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section are allowed. Any new military activity that is likely to violate sanctuary prohibitions may become exempt through consultation between the Director and DoD pursuant to section 304(d) of the NMSA. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(3), the term “new military activity” includes but is not limited to, any existing military activity that is modified in any way (including change in location, frequency, duration, or technology used) that is likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure a sanctuary resource, or is likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure a sanctuary resource in a manner or to an extent that was not considered in a previous consultation under section 304(d) of the NMSA.

(4) In the event of destruction of, loss of, or injury to a sanctuary resource or quality resulting from an incident, including but not limited to spills and groundings caused by DoD, the cognizant component shall promptly coordinate with the Director for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to prevent, respond to or mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the sanctuary resource or quality.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.204   Emergency regulations.

(a) Where necessary to prevent or minimize the destruction of, loss of, or injury to a Sanctuary resource, or to minimize the imminent risk of such destruction, loss, or injury, any and all activities, other than DoD activities, are subject to immediate temporary regulation, including prohibition. An emergency regulation shall not take effect without the approval of the Governor of Maryland or her/his designee or designated agency.

(b) Emergency regulations remain in effect until a date fixed in the rule or six months after the effective date, whichever is earlier. The rule may be extended once for not more than six months.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.205   Permit procedures and review criteria.

(a) Authority to issue general permits. The Director may allow a person to conduct an activity that would otherwise be prohibited by this subpart, through issuance of a general permit, provided the applicant complies with:

(1) The provisions of subpart E of this part; and

(2) The relevant site-specific regulations appearing in this subpart.

(b) Sanctuary general permit categories. The Director may issue a sanctuary general permit under this subpart, subject to such terms and conditions as he or she deems appropriate, if the Director finds that the proposed activity falls within one of the following categories:

(1) Research—activities that constitute scientific research on or scientific monitoring of national marine sanctuary resources or qualities;

(2) Education—activities that enhance public awareness, understanding, or appreciation of a national marine sanctuary or national marine sanctuary resources or qualities; or

(3) Management—activities that assist in managing a national marine sanctuary.

(c) Review criteria. The Director shall not issue a permit under this subpart, unless he or she also finds that:

(1) The proposed activity will be conducted in a manner compatible with the primary objective of protection of national marine sanctuary resources and qualities, taking into account the following factors:

(i) The extent to which the conduct of the activity may diminish or enhance national marine sanctuary resources and qualities; and

(ii) Any indirect, secondary or cumulative effects of the activity.

(2) It is necessary to conduct the proposed activity within the national marine sanctuary to achieve its stated purpose.

(3) The methods and procedures proposed by the applicant are appropriate to achieve the proposed activity's stated purpose and eliminate, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects on sanctuary resources and qualities as much as possible.

(4) The duration of the proposed activity and its effects are no longer than necessary to achieve the activity's stated purpose.

(5) The expected end value of the activity to the furtherance of national marine sanctuary goals and purposes outweighs any potential adverse impacts on sanctuary resources and qualities from the conduct of the activity.

(6) The applicant is professionally qualified to conduct and complete the proposed activity.

(7) The applicant has adequate financial resources available to conduct and complete the proposed activity and terms and conditions of the permit.

(8) There are no other factors that would make the issuance of a permit for the activity inappropriate.

return arrow Back to Top

§922.206   Certification of preexisting leases, licenses, permits, approvals, other authorizations, or rights to conduct a prohibited activity.

(a) A person may conduct an activity prohibited by §922.203(a)(1) through (3) if such activity is specifically authorized by a valid Federal, state, or local lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization, or tribal right of subsistence use or access in existence prior to the effective date of sanctuary designation and within the sanctuary designated area and complies with §922.49 and provided that the holder of the lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization complies with the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section.

(b) In considering whether to make the certifications called for in this section, the Director may seek and consider the views of any other person or entity, within or outside the Federal government, and may hold a public hearing as deemed appropriate.

(c) The Director may amend, suspend, or revoke any certification made under this section whenever continued operation would otherwise be inconsistent with any terms or conditions of the certification. Any such action shall be forwarded in writing to both the holder of the certified permit, license, or other authorization and the issuing agency and shall set forth reason(s) for the action taken.

(d) Requests for findings or certifications should be addressed to the Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; ATTN: Sanctuary Superintendent, Mallows Bay-Potomac National Marine Sanctuary, 1305 East West Hwy., 11th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910. A copy of the lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization must accompany the request.

(e) For an activity described in paragraph (a) of this section, the holder of the authorization or right may conduct the activity prohibited by §922.203(a)(1) through (3) provided that:

(1) The holder of such authorization or right notifies the Director, in writing, within 180 days of the Federal Register notification announcing of effective date of the Sanctuary designation, of the existence of such authorization or right and requests certification of such authorization or right;

(2) The holder complies with the other provisions of this section; and

(3) The holder complies with any terms and conditions on the exercise of such authorization or right imposed as a condition of certification, by the Director, to achieve the purposes for which the Sanctuary was designated.

(f) The holder of an authorization or right described in paragraph (a) of this section authorizing an activity prohibited by §922.203 may conduct the activity without being in violation of applicable provisions of §922.203, pending final agency action on his or her certification request, provided the holder is otherwise in compliance with this section.

(g) The Director may request additional information from the certification requester as he or she deems reasonably necessary to condition appropriately the exercise of the certified authorization or right to achieve the purposes for which the Sanctuary was designated. The Director must receive the information requested within 45 days of the postmark date of the request. The Director may seek the views of any persons on the certification request.

(h) The Director may amend any certification made under this section whenever additional information becomes available that he/she determines justifies such an amendment.

(i) Upon completion of review of the authorization or right and information received with respect thereto, the Director shall communicate, in writing, any decision on a certification request or any action taken with respect to any certification made under this section, in writing, to both the holder of the certified lease, permit, license, approval, other authorization, or right, and the issuing agency, and shall set forth the reason(s) for the decision or action taken.

(j) The holder may appeal any action conditioning, amending, suspending, or revoking any certification in accordance with the procedures set forth in §922.50.

(k) Any time limit prescribed in or established under this section may be extended by the Director for good cause.

return arrow Back to Top

Appendix A to Subpart S of Part 922—Mallows Bay-Potomac River Marine Sanctuary Boundary Description and Coordinates of the Lateral Boundary Closures and Excluded Areas

Coordinates listed in this appendix are unprojected (Geographic) and based on the North American Datum of 1983.

Table 1—Coordinates for Sanctuary

Point IDLatitudeLongitude
138.39731−77.31008
238.39823−77.31030
338.39856−77.31059
438.39886−77.31074
538.39917−77.31067
638.40014−77.31074
738.40090−77.31145
838.40138−77.31215
938.40197−77.31236
1038.40314−77.31278
1138.40658−77.31377
1238.40984−77.31465
1338.41388−77.31692
1438.41831−77.31913
1538.41974−77.31930
1638.42352−77.31971
1738.42548−77.32030
1838.42737−77.32081
1938.43091−77.32240
2038.43163−77.32242
2138.43350−77.32263
2238.43384−77.32269
2338.43430−77.32265
2438.43461−77.32229
2538.43498−77.32146
2638.43526−77.32057
2738.43522−77.32040
2838.47321−77.31845
2938.47434−77.31874
3038.47560−77.31752
3138.47655−77.31686
3238.47748−77.31666
3338.47821−77.31604
3438.47871−77.31554
3538.47885−77.31563
3638.47905−77.31559
3738.47921−77.31578
3838.47943−77.31592
3938.47985−77.31592
4038.48493−77.31335
41*38.48554−77.27298
42*38.39793−77.25704
4338.39731−77.31008

Note 1 to table 1 of this appendix: The coordinates in the table above marked with an asterisk (*) are not a part of the sanctuary boundary. These coordinates are landward reference points used to draw a line segment that intersects with the shoreline.

return arrow Back to Top

Appendix B to Subpart S of Part 922—Mallows Bay-Potomac River Marine Sanctuary Terms of Designation

Terms of Designation for the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary

Under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, as amended (the “Act” or “NMSA”), 16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq., certain waters and submerged lands located off the Nanjemoy Peninsula of Charles County, Maryland, and along the tidal Potomac River and its surrounding waters are hereby designated as a National Marine Sanctuary for the purposes of providing long-term protection and management of the historical resources and recreational, research, educational, and aesthetic qualities of the area.

Article I: Effect of Designation

The NMSA authorizes the issuance of such regulations as are necessary and reasonable to implement the designation, including managing and protecting the historical resources and recreational, research, and educational qualities of the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary (the “Sanctuary”). Section 1 of Article IV of this appendix lists those activities that may have to be regulated on the effective date of designation, or at some later date, in order to protect Sanctuary resources and qualities. Listing an activity does not necessarily mean that it will be regulated; however, if an activity is not listed it may not be regulated, except on an emergency basis, unless Section 1 of Article IV is amended by the same procedures by which the original Sanctuary designation was made.

Article II: Description of the Area

The Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary consists of an area of approximately 18 square miles of waters of the State of Maryland and the submerged lands thereunder, over, around, and under the underwater cultural resources in the Potomac River between Stafford County, Virginia, and Charles County, Maryland. The western boundary of the sanctuary approximates the border between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland for roughly 6 miles along the Potomac River, beginning north of the mouth of Aquia Creek in Stafford County, Virginia, near Brent Point and continuing north past Widewater, VA, and Clifton Point to a point north of Tank Creek. From this point the sanctuary boundary crosses the Potomac to the east until it intersects the Maryland shoreline just north of Sandy Point in Charles County, MD. From this point the eastern boundary of the sanctuary, approximately 8 miles in total length, follows the Maryland shoreline south past Mallows Bay, Blue Banks, and Wades Bay to a point just south of Smith Point. From this location the sanctuary boundary crosses the Potomac River to the west back to its point of origin north of the mouth of Aquia Creek near Brent Point on the Virginia side of the river.

Article III: Special Characteristics of the Area

Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary and its surrounding waters contain a diverse collection more than 100 known historic shipwreck vessels dating back to the Civil War and potentially dating back to the Revolutionary War, as well as archaeological artifacts dating back 12,000 years indicating the presence of some of the region's earliest American Indian cultures, including the Piscataway Indian Nation and the Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sub-Tribes of Maryland. The area is most renowned for the remains of over 100 wooden steamships, known as the “Ghost Fleet,” that were built for the U.S. Emergency Fleet between 1917-1919 as part of U.S. engagement in WWI. Their construction at more than 40 shipyards in 17 states reflects the massive national wartime effort that drove the expansion and economic development of communities and related maritime service industries including the present-day Merchant Marines. The area is contiguous to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and the Lower Potomac Water Trail which offer meaningful educational and recreational opportunities centered on the region's culture, heritage and history. Additionally, the structure provided by the vessels and related infrastructure serve as important habitat to thriving populations of recreational fisheries, bald eagles, and other aquatic species. The area's listing on the National Historical Register of Places in 2015 codifies the historical, archaeological and recreational significance of the Ghost Fleet and related maritime cultural heritage sites in and around Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary.

Article IV: Scope of Regulations

Section 1. Activities Subject to Regulation. The following activities are subject to regulation, including prohibition, to the extent necessary and reasonable to ensure the protection and management of the historical resources and recreational, research and educational qualities of the area:

a. Moving, removing, recovering, altering, destroying, possessing, or otherwise injuring, or attempting to move, remove, recover, alter, destroy, possess or otherwise injure a Sanctuary resource, except as an incidental result of traditional fishing (as defined in the regulations).

b. Marking, defacing, or damaging in any way, or displacing or removing or tampering with any signs, notices, or placards, whether temporary or permanent, or with any monuments, stakes, posts, buoys, or other boundary markers related to the Sanctuary.

c. Interfering with, obstructing, delaying or preventing an investigation, search, seizure or disposition of seized property in connection with enforcement of the Act or any regulation issued under the Act.

Section 2. NOAA will not exercise its authority under the NMSA to regulate fishing in the Sanctuary.

Section 3. Emergencies. Where necessary to prevent or minimize the destruction of, loss of, or injury to a Sanctuary resource; or minimize the imminent risk of such destruction, loss, or injury, any activity, including those not listed in Section 1, is subject to immediate temporary regulation. An emergency regulation shall not take effect without the approval of the Governor of Maryland or her/his designee or designated agency.

Article V: Relation to Other Regulatory Program

Section 1. Fishing Regulations, Licenses, and Permits. Fishing in the Sanctuary shall not be regulated as part of the Sanctuary management regime authorized by the Act. However, fishing in the Sanctuary may be regulated by other Federal, State, Tribal and local authorities of competent jurisdiction, and designation of the Sanctuary shall have no effect on any regulation, permit, or license issued thereunder.

Section 2. Other Regulations, Licenses, and Permits. If any valid regulation issued by any federal, state, Tribal, or local authority of competent jurisdiction, regardless of when issued, conflicts with a Sanctuary regulation, the regulation deemed by the Director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or designee, in consultation with the State of Maryland, to be more protective of Sanctuary resources and qualities shall govern. Pursuant to section 304(c)(1) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1434(c)(1), no valid lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization issued by any federal, state, Tribal, or local authority of competent jurisdiction, or any right of subsistence use or access, may be terminated by the Secretary of Commerce, or designee, as a result of this designation, or as a result of any Sanctuary regulation, if such lease, permit, license, approval, or other authorization, or right of subsistence use or access was issued or in existence as of the effective date of this designation. However, the Secretary of Commerce or designee, in consultation with the State of Maryland, may regulate the exercise of such authorization or right consistent with the purposes for which the Sanctuary is designated.

Section 3. Department of Defense Activities. DoD activities shall be carried out in a manner that avoids to the maximum extent practicable any adverse impacts on sanctuary resources and qualities. Any existing military activity conducted by DoD prior to the effective date of the regulations in this subpart and as specifically identified in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Final Management Plan for the Sanctuary (FEIS/FMP) is allowed to continue in the Sanctuary. The prohibitions in §922.203(a)(1) through (3) do not apply to those existing military activities listed in the FEIS/FMP or the military activities conducted by DoD listed in §922.203(c)(2). New military activities that do not violate the prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section are allowed. Any new military activity that is likely to violate sanctuary prohibitions may become exempt through consultation between the Director and DoD pursuant to section 304(d) of the NMSA. The term “new military activity” includes but is not limited to, any existing military activity that is modified in any way (including change in location, frequency, duration, or technology used) that is likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure a sanctuary resource, or is likely to destroy, cause the loss of, or injure a sanctuary resource in a manner or to an extent that was not considered in a previous consultation under section 304(d) of the NMSA. In the event of destruction of, loss of, or injury to a sanctuary resource or quality resulting from an incident, including but not limited to spills and groundings caused by DoD, the cognizant component shall promptly coordinate with the Director for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to prevent, respond to or mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the sanctuary resource or quality.

Article VI. Alteration of This Designation

The terms of designation may be modified only by the same procedures by which the original designation is made, including public meetings, consultation according to the NMSA.

return arrow Back to Top

Need assistance?