Council updated on island restoration

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
David Blazer of the Maryland Port Authority updated the County Council Tuesday evening on the progress of the Mid Chesapeake Bay Island Project.

CAMBRIDGE — The Dorchester County Council received an update Tuesday evening on the progress of the Maryland Port Authority’s (MPA) Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Restoration Project. Plans call for dredge material to be placed on James and Barren islands in Dorchester County.

“We have funding for pre-construction engineering and design,” David Blazer from the MPA said, adding that his office intends to stay in touch with local officials.

“We don’t want any surprises,” he said. “We want you to know what’s going on.”

The model for the project is the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island. That job is considered successful in not only keeping the bay’s and Baltimore’s shipping channel clear, but also in the protection of the island’s environment.

Taylors Island activist Bruce Colson attended the meeting, and recalled how much work has already gone into plans for maintaining James and Barren islands. “In 1999 we started this,” Mr. Colson said.

In January and February, drilling and coring will take place as part of the preliminary studies. “It’s going to be a jack-up barge” near the two islands, Mr. Blazer said.

If all goes according to plan, work on Barren will take place from 2022-24, with James going from 2024-28. “We’re pretty confident” the project will occur, Mr. Blazer said. “It’s just a question of funding.”

Council President Jay Newcomb voiced support for the work, saying, “I think council is certainly on board with this.”