Poplar Island Restoration and Expansion Underway - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Poplar Island Restoration and Expansion Underway

Posted: Apr 26, 2018 8:12 AM Updated:
Poplar Island, as seen from Chopper 16. (Photo: WBOC) Poplar Island, as seen from Chopper 16. (Photo: WBOC)

POPLAR ISLAND, Md. - From Tilghman to Assateague, Delmarva boasts its fair share of islands, but there's one island located just off Talbot County's coastline that's re-building a reputation all its own.

Recently on the verge of extinction, Poplar Island is now being restored using dredged material from nearby navigational channels. 

Today, the island sits as a national model for habitat restoration.

"What we did is re-establish the footprint of the island to create upland habitat for various wildlife," said Sean Fritzges, a representative with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Almost 2,000 acres of remote island habitat is being restored.

"In order to keep the ships coming to the Port of Baltimore, the Seagirt marine terminals, we have federal channels that we dredge. We remove the materials and we have a placement site, and Poplar Island is that placement site," said Fritzges.

That dredged material is then placed and shaped in different sections, or "cells," to create wetland and upland habitats, which are home to many of the bay's treasured wild fowl, fish, reptiles, and mammals.

"The tidal wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay are rapidly going away and so the ability to use dredged materials to bring some of these cells back and restore them is very important," said biologist Seth Keller.

Keller is one of the members working on a major three-phase expansion to Poplar Island, which is adding four wildlife wetland areas and a large placement facility for dredge inflow.

The project is a collaboration between the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the Maryland Environmental Service, and the Maryland Port Administration.

According to officials, construction on Poplar Island can be complete by 2044 with proper funding.

If you'd like to check out the island for yourself, you can contact Maryland Environmental Service to schedule a visit.

 

 

 

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