Officials tour Poplar Island and Mid-Chesapeake Bay restoration projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District project teams and leadership yesterday hosted staff from the offices of Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Van Hollen for a briefing and aerial tour of the Poplar Island and Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island ecosystem restoration projects.

Photo courtesy of USACE

Poplar Island, once on the verge of disappearing, is now an international model for habitat restoration and the beneficial use of dredged material.

The project represents a long-term strategy for providing a viable dredged material placement site that meets the Port of Baltimore’s dredging needs to keep the waterways safe and open while also maximizing the use of dredged material as a beneficial resource to benefit the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Mid-Bay, located adjacent to James and Barren Islands off the coast of Dorchester County, follows in the footsteps of Poplar’s success, eventually providing hundreds of acres of wetland and terrestrial habitat for fish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals through the beneficial use of dredged material over the next several decades.

Based on the current schedule, Barren Island may start to accept dredged material as early as 2024 with James Island accepting in approximately 2030, after sill and dike construction efforts to hold the material are completed at each location.

The Mid-Bay project is anticipated to be completed in 2067 – providing more than 40 years of capacity to place almost 100 million cubic yards of dredged material.