Coastal islands and marshes in Chesapeake Bay are disappearing, along with the ecosystem services and shoreline protection benefits they provide.
Within the last half century, the cumulative effects of shoreline erosion, land subsidence, inadequate sediment supply, and sea level rise have accelerated the rate of island submergence.
NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and their partners are working to reverse this trend on Swan Island.
From October 2018 to April 2019, the USACE Baltimore District dredged nearby navigation channels and placed roughly 70,000 cubic yards of the dredged sediments on Swan Island, enough to fill 21 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Then, in June and July of 2019, the Baltimore District planted approximately 200,000 marsh and dune plants on the island.
Navigation channels often require dredging to remain passable. The dredged sediments can serve as building material for habitat restoration and shoreline stabilization projects.