The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District recently completed construction of the Poplar Island Ecosystem Restoration Project lateral expansion, providing 575 additional acres, including four new wetland cells and one large upland cell.
The project is now able to accept dredged material associated with the approach channels to the Port of Baltimore until around 2032.
“This is a momentous day that has been many years in the making,” said Baltimore District’s Poplar Island Project Manager Trevor Cyran. “This could not be possible without our dedicated staff, partners and contractors, who put the time in to make this a reality – a great example of what mission complete looks like.”
Formally named the “Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island,” the Poplar Island
project site has become an international model for the beneficial use of dredged material.
In 2007, Congress authorized an expansion of the project’s footprint to allow for more dredged material placement capacity and ecosystem restoration benefits.
Poplar Island’s first containment cell was completed 23 years ago. Construction of the expansion phase began in 2017. This expansion adds a storage capacity of 28 million cubic yards.
USACE works in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) and other federal and state agencies on this project.
MDOT MPA is responsible for finding adequate long term placement capacity for approximately five million cubic yards of sediment that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges annually from the shipping channels leading to the Port of Baltimore.
In fiscal 2021, USACE Baltimore District received additional funding to complete preconstruction engineering and design work to restore James and Barren islands, totaling more than 2,000 acres, through the placement of dredged material.
Once constructed, this project, known as the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Project, will replace Poplar Island as the primary 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 over a span of at least 30 years.
Chesapeake Bay island restoration projects are a long-term strategy for providing viable placement alternatives that meet the Port of Baltimore’s dredging needs while maximizing the use of dredged materials as a beneficial resource.
source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District