BALTIMORE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District safely rehomed 25-30k honeybees that were found during abatement and demolition services at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, Md., July 26, 2023.
The work at the BARC is in support of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) replacement currency production facility, and Baltimore District’s Program and Project Management Division (PPMD) located the honeybees while assisting with the disposition of excess real property at the site.
After discovering the bees, the team contacted the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Maryland Beekeepers Association for assistance, and Baltimore’s Bee Friendly Apiary was able to visit the site and remove the hives within a week.
Bill Castro, the owner and head beekeeper at Bee Friendly Apiary, vacuumed the bees into a bee box, broke off the wax combs, and salvaged approximately 40 pounds of honey before taking everything to the apiary in Baltimore. Once at the apiary, the honeycomb will be attached to the frames of a beekeeping box where the bees will be released and immediately recognize their hive.
With the bees quickly removed, abatement and demolition was able to continue on schedule. Site preparation for the BEP replacement currency production facility at BARC will continue through 2023, and construction is scheduled to start in 2024.
“Every single person we interacted with at Baltimore District, the state agencies, and the contractor/subcontractor personnel all wanted to see the honeybees rehomed safely rather than destroyed,” said Sal Van Wert, Baltimore District project manager. “It was really fulfilling to witness.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District, are collaborating on the BEP replacement currency production facility at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC). USACE signed an interagency agreement with the BEP in March 2019 to coordinate this replacement effort, including environmental assessments and design and construction oversight for the main facility and supporting structures, parking and stormwater management facilities, roadway access and improvements, utility connections, security systems, and access control.
The BEP is responsible for designing and printing U.S. currency notes at the request of the Federal Reserve Board. BEP currently operates currency production facilities in Washington, D.C. and Fort Worth, Texas. BEP’s current Washington, D.C. facility is more than 100 years old and limits BEP’s ability to modernize its operations, so BEP, in coordination with USACE, is planning the construction and operation of a more efficient, modern facility at BARC to meet currency production needs.
Learn more about the project here: https://www.nab.usace.army.mil/BEP/
The mission of USACE, Baltimore District, is to deliver vital engineering solutions in collaboration with its partners to serve and strengthen the nation, energize the economy, and reduce disaster risks. Of note, Baltimore District has an extensive flood risk management program in which it inspects nearly 150 miles of levee systems and operates 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, from which most of the material is beneficially used for restoration missions, such as the expansion of Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay. The district has vast ecosystem for 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 protect the nation.