Monday, March 13, 2023

Barren Island Reconstruction Beginning

 Dredging Today, Construction work begins on Barren Island

Barren Island Phase I construction is set to begin this week, and will last through October 2024. Phase I construction will include installation of a majority of the stone sills and breakwaters.

The Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration Project – commonly known as Mid-Bay – is located in Dorchester County near what remains of the separate James and Barren Islands.

Looking across Barren Is. to the upper Hooper Island Bridge
Yesterday, Pete asked me if I knew anything about this, he said he saw barges working near the island.

The project will use dredged material from the Chesapeake Bay’s Maryland navigation channels to restore remote island and wetland habitat near James and Barren Islands, which will provide improved health and sustainability to aquatic and wildlife species. Additionally, the restoration project will benefit navigational safety and passive recreation, while providing additional shoreline protection.

The project is being completed under a federal/state partnership between the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District and Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA).

Barren Island is located in the Chesapeake Bay and is adjacent to Upper Hoopers Island.

The ecosystem restoration effort will include the addition of a minimum of 72 acres of wetland habitat as well as installation of sills and breakwaters to protect the island remnan  (sic)

Across the Bay, and south about 14 miles, Barren is (barely) within our sight at the beach. Contrary to its name, it is partly tree covered, so that it has enough vertical relief to be visible, on a good day. I have visited its shores a few time when fishing. A riprap wall, and a couple of submerged rock piles offer good fishing at times. But much of it has been lost to erosion.

Remember, that while they sell this project as an attempt to restore the islands, the real point of these projects is to have some place to put the sediments they have to dredge out of the Baltimore shipping channels.

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