Thanks to the support of our hard-working volunteers, 2009 has been incredibly productive for the National Aquarium’s Conservation Team. Throughout the year, 4 large-scale planting events translated into 10 critical acres restored – that’s 144,000 plants that will provide valuable habitat and help to slow shoreline erosion!
Our restoration projects took us to many beautiful areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay. The planting season kicked off just outside of Cambridge, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In May, fifty-two volunteers and 90 students joined us on Barren Island to plant 3 acres of restored offshore habitat, created from repurposed dredge material. The marsh grasses we provided are a huge part of the recipe that turns dredge material into viable wetland habitat, making it possible to rebuild islands that have dramatically eroded over the last century.
Poplar Island is a similar restoration project off of Tilghman Island MD, in the central region of the Bay. Dredge material is again being used to rebuild the severely eroded Island to its original 1000 acres. The Aquarium Conservation Team, along with 268 volunteers and students, planted 3 acres of wetland grasses on the island in June. As more dredge material is brought in and settles into plant-able areas, the National Aquarium will continue to return to the island to be a part of the restoration process. The next Poplar Island planting project is expected to take place in the summer of 2011.
Click here to learn more about Poplar Island and the beneficial use of dredge material.