HOWARD — The president’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023, released late last month, includes more than $100 million in civil works funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build restoration projects of the aquatic ecosystem that benefit the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed.
There are some updates to dam master plans and water control manuals in Pennsylvania. They are:
— The Alvin R. Bush and Foster Joseph Sayers dams should each receive $45,000 to update their water control manuals. Water control manuals serve as guidance documents for how USACE reservoirs are operated to balance various missions such as flood risk management, recreation, and water quality. They are generally updated every ten years.
— The Aylesworth Creek, Stillwater, Cowanesque and Tioga-Hammond Lakes dams should receive between 200,000 and 250,000 to update their master plans. Master plans are strategic land use documents that define how federal lands are to be used around dams, including recreation and natural and cultural resources. They are usually updated every 25 years.
The project also includes dredging Baltimore Harbor and several canals on the east coast of Maryland; and operate and maintain flood risk management projects throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Other funding highlights are as follows.
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Construction Projects:
Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery: $3.5 million to restore native oyster populations in Virginia and Maryland tributaries.
Poplar Island Ecosystem Restoration Project: $21.34 million to continue the beneficial placement of dredged material from Baltimore Harbor access channels to restore Chesapeake Bay wetlands and island habitat remote for the benefit of a variety of bay wildlife.
Navigation (dredging and drift removal):
Dredging projects to ensure safe navigation and support local and regional economies include $24.75 million to dredge Baltimore Harbor and approach channels to a uniform depth of 50 feet to support Baltimore Harbor; $4.525 million to dredge the Wicomico River; $3.22 million to dredge the Honga River and Tar Bay; $2.17 million to dredge Rock Hall Harbor; $515,000 to dredge Ocean City Inlet and Sinepuxent Port, which have a history of shoaling; $205,000 for Chester River Dredging Engineering and Design; $105,000 for the engineering and design of the Little Wicomico River dredge in Virginia; $5,000 for Claiborne Harbor property inspections; and $5,000 for operational support from Slaughter Creek.
Dredging the Wicomico River supports the Port of Salisbury, which has the second-highest commercial port in Maryland, consisting primarily of petroleum products and grain. The safe passage of barges is crucial to maintaining an adequate supply of fuel for the Delmarva Peninsula. The material will be beneficially placed in the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area, owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to restore approximately 75 acres of wetlands showing heavy signs of degradation and fragmentation.
Material dredged from the Honga River and Tar Bay will be used to eventually restore more than 70 acres of remote island habitat on Barren Island, located in Dorchester County near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. This restoration is part of the Chesapeake Bay Middle Islands Project which will eventually replace Poplar Island.
It is also proposed that the District of Baltimore receive funding to eliminate dangerous waterway drift: $1.45 million for the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in DC and Maryland, $945,000 for the Port of Baltimore and $30 $000 for the Port of Washington.
Operations and maintenance on dam projects:
The Baltimore District flood risk management projects in Maryland and West Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania are set to receive millions of dollars in combined funding for general operations and maintenance activities. This includes $17.85 million for the Raystown Lake project for routine operations and inspections, to repair the quality control gate and low level exit gates, to remove downstream deposits and to shield the bank.
It is proposed that the District of Baltimore receive $500,000 to continue the environmental site cleanup of the Remedial Action Program of WR Grace and Co. formerly used sites in Baltimore. This involves the engineering, supervision and radiological monitoring for the demolition of part of an active manufacturing building. The funds will also be used to conduct preliminary corrective design activities at the radiological waste disposal area.
All funds remain offered until the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2023 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act or similar appropriations legislation.
For a complete list of items proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2023 budget, please see www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Budget.