Corps of Engineers receives millions in additional funding for flood risk management, navigation, restoration missions in Chesapeake Bay

Published June 11, 2018

BALTIMORE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, has received additional funding to dredge the Ocean City Inlet, reduce flood risk in New York, expand Poplar Island and begin design work at Mid-Bay Island.

This funding is through the 2018 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works Program, which is Congressionally-authorized funding specifically for the Corps in addition to funding outlined in the 2018 Administration’s Budget. Army Corps Headquarters is required to annually submit a Work Plan to Congress after a budget passes. Headquarters, working with the Office of Management and Budget, determines the allocation of these additional funds.

Work eligible for consideration for the additional funding generally includes projects, programs and activities funded in the three previous fiscal years with emphasis on ongoing work that can attain a significant milestone or produce significant outputs in the fiscal year. 

“This money is essential for us to continue our unique missions that help reduce flood risk and support the Chesapeake Bay, along with its economy and people,” said Col. Ed Chamberlayne, Baltimore District commander.

In addition to the $250,000 in the 2018 Budget, Baltimore District received $500,000 for maintenance dredging of the Ocean City Inlet navigation channel, bringing the total allocation for fiscal 2018 to $750,000. Dredge material will be placed offshore along Assateague Island, south of the inlet.

The District also received $526,000 to complete the feasibility phase of the Upper Susquehanna River Basin Comprehensive Flood Damage Reduction Study for New York. In partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, this study identifies flood risks and impacts, and recommends alternatives to reduce flood damages in the basin.

The final contract for expansion work at the Paul SSarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island is anticipated for award during the fiscal year with receipt of approximately $30.98 million in Work Plan funding. Around 90 percent of the material dredged from the Baltimore Harbor and Channels project to ensure safe navigation is placed on the once-diminishing Poplar Island. The final project, including the expansion, will contain about 68 million cubic yards of material, resulting in a total of 1,715 acres of remote island habitat.

Baltimore District received $644,000 for pre-construction engineering and design efforts for restoration of James and Barren islands (Mid-Bay) through the placement of dredged material. Design efforts could wrap up in less than four years with continued, optimal funding. Once constructed, these islands would replace Poplar Island as the site for dredge material placement from the Baltimore Harbor and Channels with the capacity to contain up to 95 million cubic yards of material over the course of 40 plus years.

“Poplar Island is the model for the beneficial use of dredged material not just nationally but internationally — and we can only hope to emulate this success at Mid-Bay,” said Chamberlayne. “Mid-Bay must be ready for material placement from the Baltimore Harbor and approach channels by 2027; it is critical for our long-term ability to maintain these essential channels and support the Maryland Port Administration and Port of Baltimore.”

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Sarah Lazo

Release no. 18-028