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Poplar Island - Baltimore, Maryland


The Poplar Island restoration project aimed to solve two problems. The sludge dredged from Chesapeake Bay shipping lanes needed to be disposed of. Ships with 47 feet of draft are moving through the 50 foot deep channels. Poplar Island, on the other hand, was in desperate need of fill because it had been badly eroded by storms. Over the past 400 years Poplar Island has reduced from 1400 acres to a mere 5 acres spread over 4 disconnected areas.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been depositing harbor sludge on Poplar Island for the past eight years since pumping it elsewhere in the harbor is prohibited. Design engineers calculated that significantly greater amounts of dredged materials could be placed on the island during the project due to improvement in consolidation rates created by the Multi-Flow Drainage System. Relatively clean dredged materials from the outer harbor has been used in the project to prevent toxic soils from accumulating.

6, 12, and 18-inch Multi-Flow were placed into multiple parallel trenches throughout the area to be filled. Clean water collected from the desaturation process was pumped back into Chesapeake Bay.

Poplar Island is reemerging from the ocean. Environmentally concerned neighbors have been painstakingly planting native grasses on the shore line. Army Corps of Engineer naturalists have seen a marked increase in wildlife on Poplar Island in recent years.