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.
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.