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USACE, Maryland Transportation Department Ink $4B Chesapeake Bay Restoration Project Partnership

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Baltimore District and the Maryland Department of Transportation have greenlighted a $4 billion ecosystem restoration project in Dorchester County.

USACE said Tuesday representatives from both parties signed a project partnership agreement to set their respective roles, responsibilities and financial obligations for the Mid-Chesapeake Bay initiative aimed at restoring remote habitats on James and Barren islands.

The restoration project will cover 2,072 acres of lost remote island habitat, which may include low and high marsh, upland areas, mudflat, ponds, channels and submerged aquatic vegetation.

“Rebuilding James and Barren islands will promote wildlife, restore coastal shorelines, and provide us with a long-term placement site for dredged material from port shipping channels, allowing us to accommodate larger ships bringing more cargo and business to Maryland,” said James Ports, secretary of MDOT.

Materials USACE dredged from channels and anchorages serving the Port of Baltimore will be used for the project, with Barren Island possibly beginning to accept dredged material by 2024 and James Island by 2030.

An initial contract award for the Barren Island phase one effort is anticipated in the coming weeks. The Mid-Bay project is expected to be completed in 2067.