The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, marked the completion of two major milestones as part of the Army Corps navigation improvement project at Rhodes Point during a ceremony at the Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield June 21.
The projects were conducted in coordination with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Somerset County; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Smith Island United, and other partners.
This month, through a $6.88-million Army Corps contract, Coastal Design & Construction Inc., a small business out of Gloucester, Virginia, completed the construction of two jetties to prevent shoaling in the channel and to reduce the continual need for dredging.
The construction of a stone sill was also completed along 850 feet of eroding shoreline south of the mouth of Sheep Pen Gut to prevent further erosion and contain material dredged as part of the project.
Following partner remarks, an extra piece of stone from the jetty project was signed by officials. The stone is to be placed at the Smith Island Cultural Center in Ewell. At the conclusion of the presentations, select officials in attendance boarded DNR’s Research Vessel Kehrin to view the project site.
Later this year, as another part of this project, a portion of the federal navigation channel in Sheep Pen Gut will be realigned through dredging. Until then, project members encourage boaters to remain vigilant when navigating through this area, said USACE.
This project is funded through the Corps, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. The funding through the Department of Housing and Community Development came from a HUD Community Development Block Grant that stemmed from Hurricane Sandy.
“The goal of this project is to prevent further erosion and to provide boaters from the Smith Island towns of Rhodes Point and Tylerton with more direct access to the Chesapeake Bay — as watermen have lost time and money because of the need to take inconvenient routes around the island,” said Col. Ed Chamberlayne, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District commander.
“With the completion of the stone sill, jetties and upcoming dredging, we are thrilled to be able to contribute long-term beneficial impacts to the people and economy of Smith Island.”