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Open Water Dumping Project in Chesapeake Bay Stalled

Date Posted: December 22, 1999

New Information
On June 30, 2000 Gov. Parris N. Glendening ended plans to dump dredged materials from Baltimore's shipping channels into the Chesapeake Bay, citing a new study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that found the material contains toxins capable of killing oysters, small fish and other marine life. Glendening also indicated that future dumping of sediment elsewhere in the Bay is unlikely.

Background
Chesapeake Bay Field Office (CBFO) Environmental Contaminants staff assisted the Service's Federal Projects branch in their review of the Draft Environmental Impact State (DEIS) for the Proposed Open-water Placement of Dredged Material at Site 104, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. The proposed dumping of approximately 18 million cubic yards of dredged material from Baltimore Harbor approach channels at Site 104, a deepwater site just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, has received a great deal of media attention. The project is strongly opposed by local citizens, non-governmental organizations and U.S. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, among others, and supported by the Maryland Governor and the Maryland Port Authority. In a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), the Department of Interior (under advisement of the Service's CBFO) criticized the DEIS for numerous inadequacies and omissions. One of the major environmental concerns is the potential excess release of pollutants that may occur during open-water placement activities. Other federal agencies (Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) followed suit, also finding the DEIS to be inadequate. In response, the ACOE decided to withdraw and revise the DEIS.

Contacts:
Beth McGee, (410)573-4524

Links:
U.S. Department of the Interior. June 21, 1999. Letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regarding Proposed Open-Water Placement of Dredged Material at Site 104 [pdf file]

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Contaminants Program: Water Quality

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, National Dredging Team

Last updated: February 13, 2013