Virtual meeting on Wicomico River dredging project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will next week (April 14) host a virtual public meeting to provide information and solicit input on the upcoming Wicomico River maintenance dredging and placement site location at the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

According to the Corps, this meeting will provide stakeholders and the public the opportunity to learn more about the continued dredging plan, cycle and timeline, as well as information on the Deal Island WMA placement site selection, its environmental and socioeconomic long-term beneficial impacts, and its support to the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“We are excited about the opportunity to couple the execution of our navigation mission with this restoration endeavor,” said Danielle Szimanski, USACE, Wicomico River project manager. “This project will contribute to protecting environmental habitat and expanding public access within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, while also continuing maintenance dredging to ensure vessels can continue safely carrying fuel, materials and agricultural supplies to and from Eastern Shore communities. It’s a win-win.”

USACE will address two contracts planned for award in fiscal 2021. The first contract is for construction of the features to prepare the Deal Island WMA placement site to receive dredged material inflow. This contract will also include vegetation planting.

The second contract will be for maintenance dredging of approximately 130,000 cubic yards (cy) of material from the Wicomico River’s lower reaches to ensure continued safe navigation along the federal channel.

The material, comprising of mostly silt and sand, will be beneficially placed at the Deal Island WMA, owned by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to restore approximately 75 acres of wetlands showing heavy signs of degradation and fragmentation.

Dredging is scheduled to be completed in early 2022, and vegetation planting on the Deal Island WMA is scheduled to be completed in summer 2023.

Photo: USACE