Monday, December 30, 2019

Bay Island Building Planned

James Island, 2018
Fortifying eroding islands in Chesapeake Bay
An ambitious project to save the James and Barren islands, commonly referred to as Mid-Bay islands in Chesapeake Bay, United States, from erosion is scheduled to begin at Barren, the smaller of the two islands, in 2022, and James in 2024, with Barren possibly taking inflow of dredged material as early as 2028.
I've been around both James and Barren Islands recently, and I'm not sure about that. Erosion has taken a severe toll on James, which is now barely visible from our beach, while much of Barren has rip rap walls protecting it and seems larger to me. A quick look at Google Maps confirms my opinion.

Barren Island in the rear view

This is a region that includes Baltimore and its port, which has a history of beneficially using dredged material – cleared from navigation channels serving the port – to remediate parcels, restore ecosystems, and fortify bay islands.

A similar, ongoing project, Poplar Island, has been providing storage capacity and restored habitat for years. Poplar is being expanded and will eventually provide about 674 ha of wetland and upland.
This is the first time I've actually seen dates for the commencement of the work on Barren and James. The first work will, no doubt, be the construction of walls to hold the sediment in. Better fishing!

Remember, the real purpose of these activities is not to save the islands, it is to have somewhere to put the dredge spoils from Baltimore Harbor dredging.

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