The President’s proposed budget for fiscal 2023, released March 28, 2022, includes more than $100 million in Civil Works funding for the USACE Baltimore District.
The plan includes the construction of aquatic ecosystem restoration projects that benefit the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed; dredging of the Baltimore Harbor and several channels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; and operating and maintaining flood risk management projects throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Funding highlights are included below.
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Construction projects:
- Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery: $3.5 million to restore native oyster populations in tributaries in Virginia and Maryland;
- Poplar Island Ecosystem Restoration Project: $21.34 million to continue the beneficial placement of material dredged from the approach channels to the Port of Baltimore to restore Chesapeake Bay wetlands and remote island habitat to benefit a variety of Bay wildlife.
Navigation (Dredging and Drift Removal):
- Dredging projects to ensure safe navigation and support local and regional economies include $24.75 million to dredge the Baltimore Harbor and approach channels to a uniform 50-foot depth to support the Port of Baltimore; $4.525 million to dredge the Wicomico River; $3.22 million to dredge Honga River and Tar Bay; $2.17 million to dredge Rock Hall Harbor; $515,000 to dredge the Ocean City Inlet and Sinepuxent Harbor, which has a history of shoaling; $205,000 for engineering and design for dredging the Chester River; $105,000 for engineering and design towards dredging the Little Wicomico River in Virginia; $5,000 for real estate inspections of Claiborne Harbor; and $5,000 for operational support for Slaughter Creek;
- Wicomico River dredging supports the port of Salisbury, which has the second highest commercial port in Maryland, consisting primarily of petroleum products and grain. Safe barge passage is crucial to maintaining adequate fuel supplies for the Delmarva Peninsula. The material will be beneficially placed at the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, owned by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to restore approximately 75 acres of wetlands showing heavy signs of degradation and fragmentation;
- Material dredged from the Honga River and Tar Bay will be used to eventually restore more than 70 acres of remote island habitat on Barren Island, located in Dorchester County near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. This restoration is part of the Mid-Chesapeake Bay islands project that will eventually replace Poplar Island;
- Baltimore District is also proposed to receive funding to remove hazardous drift from waterways: $1.45 million for the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in DC and Maryland, $945,000 for the Baltimore Harbor, and $30,000 for Washington Harbor.
All funds remain proposed until the enactment of the fiscal 2023 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Act or similar appropriations legislation, said USACE.