US Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore District

Assateague Island Formerly Used Defense Site

Assateague Island is a 37-mile-long, 17,522-acre barrier island, located along the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula.

During World War II, from 1944 - 1947, the U.S. Navy used two areas on the island for air-to-ground target practice, using practice rockets, bombs and projectiles. Most of the aircraft originated from naval air stations located in Chincoteague, Virginia, and Manteo, North Carolina.

It was reported the Department of Defense created two to three burial areas for spent munitions at the end of the war during site cleanup.

In 1943, the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge was established, and, in 1965, Assateague Island was established as a national seashore. Assateague Island is currently owned by the National Park Service (NPS), the State of Maryland, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Virginia, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Formerly Used Defense Site areas, totaling approximately 7,000 acres, are located in the northern portion of the island and are owned by NPS and the State of Maryland.

Explosive ordnance demolition teams have previously recovered rocket motors, practice rockets, and inert ballistic tips from the northern rocket range. In addition, a practice bomb and 20mm cannon casing have been found.

Within a 2-mile radius of the sites, there are few residential areas and no industrial presence. NPS has distributed educational materials regarding previous findings and appropriate safety protocol.
                                                                                                                                                                       
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a Site Inspection in 2007 that recommended a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The contract for the RI/FS was awarded in fiscal 2016. The RI fieldwork was completed in spring 2018. The team found no live munitions or explosives of concern during the thorough investigation. Only munitions debris was uncovered, which poses no explosive risk; therefore, no further action is proposed.

Public Comment

Click here to access the full April 2019 public notice regarding the Proposed Plan for the Assateague Island Formerly Used Defense Site.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has completed a Remedial Investigation and a Proposed Plan for the Assateague Island Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) in Worcester County, MD. The public is invited to provide feedback on the draft final Proposed Plan for the Assateague Island FUDS site and USACE conducted a public meeting on May 2, 2019 regarding the Proposed Plan. 

When: May 2, 2019
Where: Assateague Island Environmental Education Center (7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, MD, 21811)

Electronic versions of the materials from May 2, 2019 public meeting:

The Proposed Plan and Remedial Investigation Report are available for public review beginning by hard copy and electronic copy at the Worcester County Library – Berlin Branch at 13 Harrison Ave., Berlin, MD.  (Update - see top right of this page for links to electronic versions of both of those documents and additional project documents)

Although the Corps recommends no further action at this site, input from the public is a key element in the decision-making process. The USACE is holding a public comment period for the Proposed Plan from April 29 to June 3, 2019. Depending on the nature of the comments or new information, the Corps may modify the proposed decision or choose another alternative, if appropriate.