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Chesapeake Bay Field Office Convinces Corps “Wrong Place, Wrong Plan” for Wetland Creation Project
Northeast Region, September 26, 2011
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Wetland creation plan
Wetland creation plan - Photo Credit: Army Corps of Engineers
Shallow water habitat off Greenbury Point
Shallow water habitat off Greenbury Point - Photo Credit: Janet Norman, USFWS
Canvasbacks utilize existing habitat
Canvasbacks utilize existing habitat - Photo Credit: USFWS

Chesapeake Bay Field Office biologist Janet Norman led a cadre of other scientists to convince the Baltimore District Corps of Engineers that their plan for a wetland creation was not suitable for the waters off  the U.S. Naval Academy’s Greenbury Point in Annapolis, MD. The projected $ 5 million project, a Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project under the Water Resources Development Act, was terminated after early planning had been conducted, saving scarce Federal dollars for other worthy projects.

 

Ms. Norman highlighted the existing value of the shallow open water for foraging diving ducks in decline, especially canvasbacks; the historical lack of wetland existence at this high energy, open fetch location; and the unsuitable fine dredged material that was to be used for wetland creation. Her judgements were reinforced by written comments of the National Marine Fisheries Service, also opposed to the project.

Ms. Norman involved restoration ecologist Dr. Steve Ailstock of Anne Arundel Community College, whose published paper on the Puritan settlement of Greenbury Point in the early 1600’s served as additional evidence the project was not a wetland restoration. He agreed the project would be harmful to Chesapeake Bay water quality while eliminating valuable existing habitat.

Extensive Bay-wide research work done in 1990 by Patuxent Wildlife Research Center biologists documented significant numbers of macoma clams and sandy substrates suitable for diving ducks off Greenbury Point. The Chesapeake Bay Field Office thanks those involved in this baseline data collection, without which it would have been much harder to prove habitat elimination.

For more information contact:
Janet Norman
410/573-4533
janet_norman@fws.gov


Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov



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