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$40 million in President’s proposed budget to construct Chesapeake Bay restoration projects

June 2nd, 2021 by WCBC Radio

The President’s proposed budget for fiscal 2022 released May 28, 2021, includes nearly $40 million in Civil Works funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, to construct aquatic ecosystem restoration projects that benefit the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.

Aquatic ecosystem restoration projects proposed for funding include $4.2 million to continue restoration and expansion of Poplar Island that uses material dredged from the approach channels to the Port of Baltimore; $3.88 million to restore native oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay; and $30 million to restore degraded in-stream habitat and create opportunities for fish passage as part of the Anacostia Watershed Restoration project in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Projects proposed to ensure safe navigation include $4.3 million to dredge the Wicomico River in Wicomico County, Maryland. This project supports the port of Salisbury, which has the second highest commercial port in Maryland, consisting primarily of petroleum products and grain. Safe barge passage is crucial to maintaining adequate fuel supplies for the Delmarva Peninsula. The material, comprising of mostly silt and sand, will be beneficially placed at the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, owned by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to restore approximately 75 acres of wetlands showing heavy signs of degradation and fragmentation. Funding in the amount of $1.11 million is also proposed to dredge the Ocean City Inlet and Sinepuxent Bay, which has a history of shoaling. Baltimore District is also slated to receive approximately $20.39 million to dredge the Baltimore Harbor to a uniform depth.

Additional navigation funds would be used for other activities associated with the ongoing maintenance of federally authorized navigation channels, including planning for future dredging activities, conducting hydrographic surveys of channels and clearing drift and debris that could be hazardous to navigation from around designated harbors.