Mid-Bay Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (sEIS) for Review

All Interested Parties: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District in partnership with the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), the project’s non-federal sponsor, has prepared a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (sEIS) for the James Island component of the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration Project (Mid-Bay Island). USACE and MPA request comments regarding the draft sEIS by May 15, 2024. Comments can be submitted electronically to: midbayislands@usace.army.mil. Written comments can be sent to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: Angie Sowers, Planning Division, 10th Floor, 2 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore, MD 21201. If you have any questions, please contact Angie Sowers by email at the address above.

All stakeholders are invited to attend a public meeting scheduled for April 17, 2024, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Madison Volunteer Fire Company, 1154 Taylors Island Road, Madison, MD 21648.  The purpose of the public meeting is to inform stakeholders about the project, its likely effects, and to receive public input, views, and concerns regarding the project.

Honga River Dredging Public Notice

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (Corps), is planning to perform maintenance dredging for the Federal navigation channel in the Honga River, Dorchester County, Maryland during fiscal years of 2025 and/or 2026. This public notice is only for maintenance dredging of the Honga River Federal Navigation channel.

The proposed work consists of dredging the Honga River channel to its authorized depth of seven feet and a width ranging from 60-140 feet. The Corps plans to hydraulically dredge approximately 325,000 cubic yards of material consisting of mud, sand, silt, and shell and combinations thereof from the Federal channel. The dredged material will be placed within the historic footprint of Barren Island, along the southwestern portion of the most southern extent. The placement site along Barren Island is being used to help with the recovery and restoration of Barren Island as part of the greater Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Restoration.

Barren Island Borrow Area FONSI

  • The final Barren Island Borrow Area supplemental Environmental Assessment (sEA) has been completed and posted to the website below. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been signed by Colonel Pinchasin, Baltimore District Commander and is posted to the website below. 
  • The current Barren Island Tidal Wetlands License is being modified to include use of the sand borrow area located west of Barren Island.  A public notice was released by Maryland Department of the Environment for public review and comments. An opportunity to provide comments on the license modification in person was provided at a public hearing held on November 29, 2023 at the Madison Volunteer Fire Department (1154 Taylors Island Road, Madison, MD 21648). Prior to the public hearing, an informational poster session was held at the same location from 5:30 to 6:30 PM to provide the public an opportunity to review general project information, ask the project partners questions, and learn more about ongoing public outreach efforts and opportunities to be involved.
  • Please continue to use extreme caution when accessing the water immediately west of Barren Island.  Approximately 20 barges of various sizes will be moored and/or navigating these waters between set buoys to the west of the island and construction area. Large pieces of equipment and stone of varying size and elevations will be present in this area throughout the period of construction. Please continue to avoid the construction safety zone.



Mid-Bay Island Project Overview

The Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration project, often referred to as Mid-Bay, is located adjacent to the islands of James and Barren in western Dorchester County, Maryland. The project is focused on restoring/expanding island habitat to provide hundreds of acres of wetland and terrestrial habitat for fish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals through the beneficial use of dredged material. 

This will provide direct benefits of improved health, richness, and sustainability to aquatic and wildlife species. In addition, it will provide indirect benefits of navigational safety, education, and passive recreation. The conceptual plan for the feasibility study proposes 55 percent wetland and 45 percent upland habitats. Habitat may include submerged aquatic habitat, mudflat, low marsh, high marsh, islands, ponds, channels and upland areas. 

The project develops a long-term strategy for providing viable placement alternatives that meet the dredging needs of the Port of Baltimore while maximizing the use of dredged materials as a beneficial resource. Restoration of island habitat is necessary and valuable to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. In the last 150 years, it has been estimated that 10,500 acres of this type of habitat have been lost in the middle-eastern portion of Chesapeake Bay. Remote island habitat is valuable as resting and nesting sites for migratory and shore birds. 

The Mid-Bay project includes restoration of 2,072 acres of lost remote island habitat on James Island and 72 acres of remote island habitat on Barren Island, using material dredged from the Port of Baltimore approach channels and the Honga River, respectively. 

A Chief’s Report signed August 24, 2009 approved the final feasibility report, dated June 2009. The recommended plan consists of constructing environmental restoration projects at both James and Barren Islands.


 James_Isalnd_Recommended_Plan[1].png (3456×2304)  Barren_Island_Design_Plan[1].png (3456×2304)
James Island Recommended Plan Barren Island Design Plan


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