During World War I the United States built a large wooden fleet in a hurry. Not fast enough, though, because the war ended before the ships could see service. So they were left over, then docked off the eastern Maryland coast, where they decayed for years, then decades. That ghost fleet is now reclaimed by nature.
An Audubon Society representative testified in 1970 that the wrecks “have been there for so long—nearly half a century—that it is inconceivable that they are not an integral part of the ecosystem.” In the end, regulators decided that removing them would cause more harm than good.