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Poplar Island

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By Suzanne Wooton and Suzanne Wooton,SUN STAFF | July 12, 1996
A House appropriations subcommittee in Washington has approved $15 million to begin restoring the Chesapeake Bay's Poplar Island, a highly expensive project that could become a national model for beneficial use of dredge material.The plan to restore Poplar Island is one of several solutions proposed by Maryland officials to deal with the state's dilemma about where to put the mud and silt scooped from its 126 miles of shipping channels.Gov. Parris N. Glendening, hoping to secure federal funds, budgeted $35 million this year to develop the first half of the 1,100-acre project.
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NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | May 20, 2014
A bipartisan water transportation bill that would allow Maryland to unload tons of dredging material on Chesapeake Bay islands — an effort that officials say is critical for the port of Baltimore — won broad support in the House of Representatives on Tuesday and is poised for final approval in the Senate. Despite concerns raised by budget watchdog groups and some environmentalists, the $12 billion measure sailed through the politically rancorous House on a 412-4 vote, all but assuring passage in the Senate this week.
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NEWS
By Susan Gvozdas and Susan Gvozdas,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 1, 2007
Willem Roosenburg reached into a white bucket and pulled out a terrapin the size of a hamburger. The Ohio University professor waved a scanner over the freshwater turtle, recording the data from the tiny transponder in its leg before handing Lulu back to her handlers, first-graders from Frank Hebron-Harman Elementary School in Hanover. Tuesday was the last time the first-graders saw the turtle after spending nine months nurturing the hatchling in their classroom tank. It was time to release her and her brother, Blue, back into the Chesapeake Bay surrounding Poplar Island.
BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | January 17, 2014
A $1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress late Thursday — averting another shutdown by funding the government through October — directs tens of millions of dollars to the port of Baltimore and will keep airport control towers open across the state. The port funding, about $60 million, consists mostly of appropriations for dredging projects. The bill includes about $21 million for the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat who helped steer the bill as chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, called the legislation an "investment in the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on clean and open waterways" that will "keep businesses open and keep people working.
NEWS
By Steven Kreytak and Steven Kreytak,CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE | November 30, 1997
POPLAR ISLAND - Presidents and their Cabinet members once played on Poplar Island. Bootleggers made moonshine there, and a man who raised black cats for their pelts was wiped out when the Chesapeake Bay froze over and thousands of cats scurried to freedom.Those days are long gone. But then, so is most of Poplar Island.There is almost nothing left today of the Talbot County island that covered 1,100 acres in 1847. Erosion has eaten the island away ever since and has broken it into several pieces, only one of which is bigger than an acre.
BUSINESS
By Suzanne Wooton and Suzanne Wooton,SUN STAFF | March 20, 1996
The Clinton administration has earmarked $22 million in its fiscal 1997 budget to help restore the Chesapeake Bay's Poplar Island using mud and silt scooped from Maryland's extensive shipping channels.With ports across the nation struggling to find dredge disposal sites, Poplar Island would become a national model as the first large-scale project to beneficially use dredged material."The project demonstrates that clean dredge material can be a resource rather than a waste," Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes said yesterday.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella and Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF | April 29, 1998
State and federal officials plan to start restoring Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay next month to serve as a wildlife refuge and dredge deposit site, with final approval expected today from the state Board of Public Works.The board's approval would finalize a private corporation's sale of four remaining fragments of the eroding island to the state. The Maryland Port Administration, with federal assistance, plans to replenish the former resort using mud and silt scooped from the port of Baltimore shipping channels.
BUSINESS
By Suzanne Wooton and Suzanne Wooton,SUN STAFF | February 10, 1996
State officials yesterday underscored the urgency of finding dredge disposal sites, but they quickly discovered that, among lawmakers, the perennially unpopular subject is still fraught with political, environmental and financial concerns.A key element of the Glendening administration plan for dredge disposal -- the restoration of Poplar Island -- ran into immediate trouble when lawmakers were told the cost ultimately could reach $350 million.But even a far less costly solution, to pump dredge material into the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, also encountered sharp hostility from environmentalists, watermen and Eastern Shore lawmakers.
NEWS
By Chris Guy and Chris Guy,SUN STAFF | May 20, 2001
POPLAR ISLAND - Two miles out in the bay, 34 miles southeast of Baltimore near Tilghman Island, excavators and dump trucks with tires as tall as a person are sculpting a mountain of muck and sand dredged from the port of Baltimore's shipping channels. If the complex engineering proves correct - if the Maryland Port Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers and federal and state environmental agencies can carry through with a plan to mimic the natural world - this nearly extinct island will emerge over the next decade as an 1,100- acre wildlife preserve.
NEWS
By Jackie Powder and Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF | April 2, 2002
In Stephen Ailstock's galley-style lab, the grass grows in water-filled test tubes, beakers and Mason jars. Under fluorescent light, tens of thousands of plantings sprout in graceful curves, flowery bunches and straight stalks. In controlled laboratory conditions, the Anne Arundel Community College biology professor has devised a way to grow mass quantities of the ecologically prized but scarce aquatic grasses that provide food, shelter and erosion buffers in the Chesapeake Bay. Now, Ailstock's challenge is to move beyond his cramped lab to Poplar Island, where he and his students will try to restore the underwater meadows that once thrived near the land mass two miles out in the bay near Tilghman Island.
BUSINESS
By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun | November 8, 2013
Frank Hamons, a trained biologist who for the past 30 years has led efforts to dredge the port of Baltimore's channels, has left the Maryland Port Administration for the private sector. Hamons, 71, who worked his last day as deputy director for harbor development Oct. 31, has taken a new job with Baltimore-based Gahagan & Bryant Associates, an engineering and consulting firm that focuses on dredging and port development projects. He will be replaced by David Blazer, the port administration's chief of dredged material management, who has worked under Hamons for the past three years.
NEWS
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun | October 23, 2013
A measure that would allow Maryland to continue to unload huge quantities of dredging spoils on islands in the Chesapeake Bay — an effort considered critical for the port of Baltimore — won broad bipartisan support Wednesday in the ordinarily divided House of Representatives. The 417-3 House vote to approve an $8 billion water bill cleared the way for negotiations with the Senate on a final legislative package that state officials hope will be even more advantageous for state shipping operations.
NEWS
July 9, 2013
I don't begrudge Smith Islanders trying to preserve their way of life in their appeal to your readership for the public to fund, in the words of Smith Island United, "the cost of these huge projects" ("Demise of Smith Island is far from inevitable," July 7). And why not if the state only has to pony up 25 percent on the project as was claimed? But I question whether that 75/25 federal and state contribution still holds true. I also question whether it will do any good, given some of the maps I've seen on sea levels rises in the Chesapeake Bay region.
NEWS
By Eddie Somers and Duke Marshall | July 7, 2013
Some believe it is inevitable that Smith Island will be lost to erosion and rising sea levels. We disagree. As members of Smith Island United, a group formed to preserve Smith Island, we believe the government has pretty much eliminated the word ""inevitable"" when it comes to the future of Chesapeake Bay islands. Hart Miller and Poplar islands in the upper bay were basically ""created"" by the government from open bay waters. These are very big projects. Poplar Island, off Tilghman Island, started in 1998 with a 35,000 foot stone dike, which was then filled with dredged spoils and is currently over 1,000 acres of high land and marsh.
BUSINESS
By Candy Thomson, The Baltimore Sun | September 21, 2012
The Maryland Port Administration is completing its initial review of a multimillion-dollar proposal that would turn Baltimore harbor shipping channel muck into bucks. The plan might eventually replace time-tested dredge disposal methods of piling sediment along the waterline or using it to plug holes in eroding bay islands with a factory that bakes the goo into concrete aggregate for construction. Baltimore would be the first port to use the process. "We're getting ready to take the next step and it's an important step for Maryland," said port commissioner Ted Venetoulis.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | January 16, 2011
While most of the Chesapeake Bay's islands are slowly vanishing beneath the waves, one not far from Baltimore is staging a remarkable renaissance. Poplar Island, former hunting retreat, hangout for politicos and black cat farm, had nearly washed away by the late 1990s. But it's since been restored to the size it was when it was still a thriving 19th-century farming and fishing community, using muck dredged from the shipping channels leading to Baltimore just 34 miles to the northwest.
NEWS
By Tom Horton and Tom Horton,SUN STAFF | September 10, 2004
FORGET THAT waterfront with million-dollar views. It's for pikers. Let's talk about the bay's new third-of-a-billion-dollar view. It's from Poplar Island, rebuilt over the past few years at a cost of about $327,000 per acre. The good news is that we taxpayers already own it, and tours are available to groups of eight or more (see below for details). I recently made the one-hour paddle in my kayak from the Talbot County mainland to check on the resurrection of Poplar Island, where the needs of commerce and wildlife are happily intersecting as they seldom do. A huge federal-state project to rebuild the eroded island with silt dredged from Baltimore's ship channels has created the only place in Maryland's mid-Chesapeake where one can enjoy 20 feet of elevation.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | November 19, 2003
Congress has agreed to set aside $18.4 million to pay for maintenance dredging of Baltimore Harbor, in addition to $14.1 million to continue the Poplar Island project. The Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for maintaining shipping channels, will use the money to remove about 2.5 million cubic yards of material from the harbor, according to the office of Democratic Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. In the Poplar Island project, the engineers aim to turn dredge spoil into a wildlife preserve.
NEWS
By Susan Gvozdas and Susan Gvozdas,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 1, 2007
Willem Roosenburg reached into a white bucket and pulled out a terrapin the size of a hamburger. The Ohio University professor waved a scanner over the freshwater turtle, recording the data from the tiny transponder in its leg before handing Lulu back to her handlers, first-graders from Frank Hebron-Harman Elementary School in Hanover. Tuesday was the last time the first-graders saw the turtle after spending nine months nurturing the hatchling in their classroom tank. It was time to release her and her brother, Blue, back into the Chesapeake Bay surrounding Poplar Island.
NEWS
By Matthew Hay Brown and Matthew Hay Brown,Sun Reporter | January 1, 2007
WASHINGTON -- As a freshman congressman, he introduced the first article of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon. As a veteran senator, he responded to corporate scandals by guiding a landmark reform package to passage. But as he reflects on 36 years in Washington, Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes becomes most animated as he recalls a dredging project in the Chesapeake Bay. It was the mid-1990s. The port of Baltimore required regular dredging to keep channels clear for commercial shipping.
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