Chesapeake Bay region gets funding

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has received an additional $56.02 million boost for fiscal 2021, including funds for beach renourishment in Ocean City, the dredging and south jetty rehabilitation of Fishing Creek in Calvert County, completion of engineering and design work to restore James and Barren islands, and more.

This funding is through the 2021 Work Plan, published Jan. 19, 2021, for the Army Civil Works Program, which is Congressionally authorized funding specifically for USACE in addition to the approximately $78.5 million in funding outlined in the fiscal 2021 Administration’s Budget for Baltimore District.

The Army Corps Headquarters, must submit a Work Plan to Congress annually after the release of the appropriations bill. Headquarters, working through the Office of Management and Budget, determines the allocation of these additional funds for the many Corps districts throughout the nation.

“These additional funds provide us the opportunity to keep navigation channels open safely and efficiently,” said Baltimore District Commander Col. John T. Litz. “This aids both national and local economies and helps restore critical Chesapeake Bay habitat for the more than 18 million people and 3600 species of plants and animals that live within the Bay’s watershed.”

Work Plan funding highlights:

  • Baltimore Harbor and Channels – $22.85 million – For dredging to maintain safe navigation channels and to keep the Port of Baltimore open for business, as well as $4.95 million to provide to the Maryland Port Administration for routine operation and maintenance activities through the Donor and Energy Transfer Ports program.
  • Baltimore Harbors Drift Removal – $515,000 – For drift removal from Baltimore Harbor to aid in safe navigation. Collection efforts intensify after storms, high-tide events and during high water flows. Operations concentrate on the open waters of the main federal channels and in the vicinity of major terminal facilities.
  • Potomac and Anacostia Rivers Drift Removal – $195,000 – For routine patrolling and drift removal, as well as electrical work for pile replacement at the crane barge berthing.
  • Ocean City Beach Renourishment – $11.1 million – For renourishment of the beach in Ocean City, Maryland, which is an integral part of ensuring the continued long-term performance of the coastal storm risk management project. Renourishment was last completed in December 2017 and is typically completed every four years. This storm risk management project is estimated to have prevented more than $927 million in damages since its completion in the early 1990s.
  • Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery – $5 million – For the continuation of oyster restoration in both Maryland and Virginia tributaries in the Chesapeake Bay, including potential future reef construction and monitoring activities. Oyster restoration in Maryland is an interagency partnership between Baltimore District, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Oyster Recovery Partnership.
  • W.R. Grace FUSRAP Remediation – $3.2 million – For the oversight of remedial action for Building 23 on the W.R. Grace Curtis Bay Facility in South Baltimore, through the Formerly Utilized Site Remedial Action Program. In the 1950s, radioactive thorium and other rare earth elements were extracted from sand as part of a contract with the Atomic Energy Commission.
  • Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island – $382,000 – For completion of preconstruction, engineering and design work for the restoration of James and Barren islands, totaling more than 2,000 acres, through the placement of dredged material. Once constructed, this project will replace Poplar Island as the site for the beneficial use of dredged material from the approach channels to the Port of Baltimore with the capacity to contain up to 95 million cubic yards of material throughout the course of at least 30 years.
  • Fishing Creek Dredging – $2.35 million – For rehabilitation of the south jetty and removing sediment along the federal navigation channel located at Chesapeake Beach in Calvert County, Maryland, which serves as a vital point of access for the U.S. Navy.
  • Twitch Cove and Big Thorofare – $4.499 million – For south jetty repair which protects the western entrance to Big Thorofare federal channel, located at Smith Island in Somerset County, Maryland.
  • Moscow Section 219 Environmental Infrastructure Program – $975,000 – To complete the design and construction of a sewer line extension project in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. Section 219 authority directs USACE to assist non-federal interests in carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection projects. Moscow Sewer Authority is the non-federal sponsor.

Of note, the fiscal year 2021 budget includes $14.5 million for the continued restoration of Poplar Island; $4.4 million to dredge the Ocean City Inlet and Assateague Island restoration; $20.085 million for routine Baltimore Harbor maintenance dredging; and operations and maintenance funding for dams, including $7.967 million for Alvin R. Bush Dam and $8.12 million for Raystown Lake.

Photo: USACE