Friday, August 28, 2020

Corps of Engineers Seeking Advice on Barren Island Restoration

Dorchester Star: Barren Island restoration effort requests input
Planners of an effort to restore Barren Island in Dorchester County are seeking input from local residents.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration, the project’s non-federal sponsor, is preparing a supplemental environmental assessment for the Barren Island component of the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Islands Ecosystem Restoration Project. Barren Island is an element of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

The Mid-Chesapeake Bay Islands Ecosystem Restoration Project recommends remote island restoration at James Island and Barren Island, both on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Dorchester County, through the beneficial use of dredged material.
Looking across Barren Island to the Upper Bridge to Nowhere
As I've noted previously, they wouldn't be considering this at all if they didn't have a continuous source of dredge spoils from Baltimore Harbor.
USACE will be preparing a supplemental EA to update documentation for the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, focused on the Barren Island component of the project. A similar action will be undertaken at a future time for the James Island component.

The authorized project consists of restoring Barren Island (72 acres), which is 100 percent wetland, in combination with the restoration of James Island (2,072 acres), with a habitat proportion of 45 percent upland to 55 percent wetland and an upland dike height of 20 feet above mean lower low water. The project will restore a combined 2,144 acres of remote island habitat, while also protecting approximately 1,325 acres of potential submerged aquatic vegetation adjacent to Barren Island.
Better hurry, or they won't be able to find what's left of James Island.
Restoration of the islands will occur by the beneficial use of approximately 90 to 95 million cubic yards of dredged material over a period of more than 30 years. The sources of the dredged material are the federal navigation channels in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay serving Baltimore Harbor and the southern Chesapeake and Delaware Canal approach channels.

Detailed information on the specific components of the project can be found in the recommended plan section and engineering appendix of the Final Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration Integrated Feasibility Report & Environmental Impact Statement, dated September 2008 (and updated in April 2009). These documents, as well as additional information about the project, are available online at
 More fishing structure, please.

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