James Island Quickly Eroding Away, Leaving Other Shorelines Expo - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

James Island Quickly Eroding Away, Leaving Other Shorelines Exposed

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James Island (Photo:WBOC) James Island (Photo:WBOC)

JAMES ISLAND, Md.-  An island that was once home to many in Dorchester County at the turn of the 20th century, has been severely eroded over the years.  What remains of James Island is now a series of smaller islands, which watermen say are being eroded faster and faster every day.  They are also concerned that they island doesn't appear to have much time left.

Friday, WBOC visited what is left of the once sprawling island with Captain Scott Todd.  He says he has seen much change on the island in just the past few months.

"This spring when we set our crab pots here, right there where that tall tree is there were eight to ten trees just like it.  So those trees have just fallen down over the summer," said Todd.

"The island behind us there, it was one piece, but now it's been cut into two pieces with about 20 feet between them," said Waterman Samson Matthews.

The James Island of today is a far cry from what it was in the early 1900s.  It's now split in several pieces, and boats can now travel across what was once Terra Firma.  Scott says the island was a barrier to protect Taylor's Island from erosion, but that barrier is wearing away quickly.

"The northwest wind is really making this river a brutal place at times," said Todd.

Despite plans the Army Corps of Engineers has to restore the island, the watermen don't think James Island will be around much longer.

"If they don't do it soon, there isn't anything they can do for it.  It will be just a sandbar, it almost is now," said Matthews.

"By Thanksgiving I'd say that will be gone in the next several weeks.  It's just going way too fast and once it breaks up like that, there's no stopping it," said Todd.

The Army Corps of Engineers most recent report on the project says they are in the engineering and design phase.  They hope to restore it like they did to Poplar Island, but no construction date is set yet.  Design is expected to take three years with optimal funding.

The Army Corps' most recent report can be found by clicking here.

Friday's Web Extra, a full interview with both watermen we spoke to can be found by clicking here.

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