The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District will get an extra $18 million from the feds this year, and that means engineers will finally get to finish the Tred Avon River’s oyster sanctuary, as well as work on needed navigation projects.
The $18.225 million boost comes from the Army Civil Works Program, funds earmarked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers(USACE) authorized by Congress. The extra funds are in addition to USACE Baltimore District’s $70 million 2020 budget.
$5 million of the added funds will go to oyster restoration in both Maryland and Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay tributaries. The majority of the money will go to finishing the last 40 acres of oyster reef left to be constructed in the Tred Avon River’s 125-acre reef construction project.
Work on the Tred Avon reef has been stopped since 2017, the last time the project got an influx of funding. USACE, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, NOAA, and the Oyster Recovery Partnership have been building one-foot reefs using mixed-shell materials and rock quarried in Havre de Grace. The Tred Avon is one of ten Chesapeake Bay tributaries targeted for full oyster restoration by 2025 in the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The funding boost is promising news in moving toward that goal.
“These additional funds provide us the opportunity to do even more in support of our diverse stakeholders throughout the region to include our commitment to the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and keeping our local waterways safe and open for navigation,” said Baltimore District Commander Col. John Litz.
The USACE funding boost will also cover a study of possible Baltimore Harbor navigation improvements and port channel operations, as well as an Anacostia River watershed restoration project.
–Meg Walburn Viviano