POPLAR ISLAND, Maryland – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, and the Coast Guard are urging boaters to steer clear of a construction area that will be marked by cautionary buoys near Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay.
“Crews working on the island have witnessed several incidents where recreational vessels have crossed the work zone and struck positioned rock jetty material,” said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Runt, the aids to navigation officer at Coast Guard Sector Maryland-National Capital Region. “Although no injuries have been reported thus far, there is a possibility of severe injury or death if the cautionary buoys are ignored.”
Within the month, boaters will see yellow flashing buoys placed approximately 1,500 feet off the coast of the north end of Poplar Island to help navigate vessels away from the current construction zone.
This construction is part of Baltimore District’s Poplar Island expansion project to create an additional 575 acres of tidal wetland habitat using clean material dredged from the Maryland Chesapeake Bay approach channels to the Port of Baltimore.
Large rocks and sand are placed to create dykes to outline the expansion cells, allowing dredge material to later be placed within the cell. These submerged rocks are currently being placed within the area marked by the cautionary buoys and will only pose a hazard to vessels that venture inside this zone.
Mid-Atlantic navigational information, hazards and construction warnings, such as the Poplar Island project, can be found in the local notice to mariners by visiting https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmDistrict®ion=5.
There have been unreported incidents of vessels encountering rocks within the construction zone and the cautionary buoys will be placed in the coming weeks to help prevent any potential future incidents.
Release no. 17-012