Corps of Engineers awards contract to dredge Lower Wicomico River

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
Published Sept. 29, 2022
Updated: Sept. 29, 2022

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District, has awarded a $13.5 million contract to Cottrell Contracting Corp., a Small Business out of Chesapeake, Virginia, for maintenance dredging for the Lower Wicomico River, located in both Wicomico and Somerset counties.

The project – in coordination with Wicomico County, the non-federal sponsor – consists of dredging approximately 120,000 cubic yards of material from the federal navigation channel, to its authorized depth of 14 feet.  

All dredged material will be removed via hydraulic cutterhead dredge and transported via pipeline to Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, owned by Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to restore approximately 70 acres of wetlands showing heavy signs of degradation and fragmentation.

The material, comprising of mostly silt and sand, will be beneficially placed for wetland restoration meant to increase migratory bird nesting habitat. Deal Island supports one of the largest concentrations in the state of herons, egrets and ibis, and also hosts one of Maryland's only breeding population of black-necked stilts.  

“We are excited to move one step closer to the execution of this restoration endeavor,” said Danielle Szimanski, USACE, Wicomico River project manager. “This project will contribute to protecting environmental habitat and expanding public access within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, while also continuing maintenance dredging to ensure vessels can continue safely carrying fuel, materials, and agricultural supplies to and from Eastern Shore communities. We’re proud to partner with Wicomico County on this effort and look forward to beginning dredging in the near future.”

The Port of Salisbury is 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.

Crews are expected to mobilize before the end of 2022, and the work is anticipated to take approximately two years to complete.

This project is part of the Baltimore District’s Navigation program, which includes operation and maintenance of more than 290 miles of federal navigable channels within the Susquehanna River watershed.  This work includes dredging, employing cutting-edge technology to conduct underwater surveys, and applying a fleet of debris removal vessels to clear floating hazards out of the federal channels in the Baltimore Harbor and Potomac and Anacostia rivers.

Click here for more information on the Wicomico River Dredging Project. 



Baltimore District celebrates 175 years of Service to our Nation in 2022

Since the Nation’s fight for independence, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has played a vital role in developing our Nation. The Baltimore District has a long and storied history that extends as far back as the early 1800s when USACE constructed Fort McHenry, successfully shielding Baltimore against British attacks in the War of 1812. And when the threat of coastal attack diminished in the 1820s, Baltimore District turned its attention to developing roadways, railways, canals, and more, marking the beginning of the District’s Civil Works mission. Baltimore District delivers vital engineering solutions in collaboration with its partners to serve and strengthen the Nation, energize the economy, and reduce disaster risks. Baltimore District has an extensive flood risk management program, inspecting nearly 150 miles of levee systems and operating 16 dams, translating to the prevention of more than $16 billion of flood damages to date. The district maintains 290 miles of federal channels, including dredging the Baltimore Harbor, which material is beneficial mainly for restoration missions, such as the expansion of Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay. The district has vast ecosystem restoration missions that include restoring native oyster populations in the Bay. Baltimore District is the only district to operate a public utility — the Washington Aqueduct — that produces an average of 135 million gallons of drinking water per day at two treatment plants for approximately one million citizens living, working, or visiting the National Capital Region. The district also cleans up formerly used defense sites, decommissions and deactivates former nuclear power plants, and performs cleanup of low-level radioactive waste from the Nation’s early atomic weapons program. Baltimore District executes a robust military construction program and provides real estate services. These civil and military missions and diverse engineering services support communities and warfighters while addressing the ever-growing  list of emerging national security requirements and ultimately protecting the Nation.

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Cynthia Mitchell
443-240-5019 (cell)

Release no. 22-027