U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen yesterday applauded a new agreement between the Army Corps’ Baltimore District and the Maryland Port Administration that allows for the start of final design work in the restoration of James and Barren islands–a restoration effort similar to transformative Poplar Island project.
Primarily using material dredged from Baltimore Harbor approach channels, what is known as the “Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration Project” (Mid-Bay Island Project) ultimately will re-create more than 2,100 acres of remote island habitat, including significant stretches of valuable wetlands.
“A project that will take a major navigational hazard and turn it into a lasting asset that creates jobs, better protects Maryland communities and provides immense benefits for fish and wildlife is exactly the kind of investment our public agencies should make,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“Restoring the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Islands is crucial to the success of the Port of Baltimore, our region’s commerce, and to preserving and protecting the Bay and its wildlife. I’m glad to see the Army Corps reach this agreement with our state partners,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Environment and Public Works and Appropriations Committees.
As reported, federal and state officials agreed on a plan to spend $5.8 million to design and engineer work to restore Barren and James islands.
Under the proposal, they would replace Poplar Island as a deposit site for the port’s dredge spoils, providing space for as much as 95 million cubic yards of dredge material over 40 years.