The U.S. Maritime Administration this week agreed to remove most of the decrepit collection of military vessels dating back to World War II.
The gray and rust-red ships, some with their hulls flaked with peeling paint, are anchored in rows in Suisun Bay, a shallow estuary between San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Studies by the administration have suggested the old warships have dumped more than 20 tons of copper, lead, zinc and other metals into the estuary, a critical habitat for a number of endangered species.
The USS Iowa won't become a museum or tourist attraction yet. The Defense Department plans to keep the battleship in storage in case the ship needs to be brought back into active service.