Press Release

August 22, 2019
Cardin, Van Hollen Applaud Progress on Path to Restore Chesapeake Bay Islands
James and Barren islands to be focus of restoration effort similar to transformative Poplar Island project

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) today applauded a new agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, and the Maryland Port Administration that allows for the start of final design work in the restoration of James and Barren islands, which are fast disappearing. Primarily using material dredged from Baltimore Harbor approach channels, what is known as the “Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration Project” (Mid-Bay Island Project) ultimately will re-create more than 2,100 acres of remote island habitat, including significant stretches of valuable wetlands. 

“A project that will take a major navigational hazard and turn it into a lasting asset that creates jobs, better protects Maryland communities and provides immense benefits for fish and wildlife is exactly the kind of investment our public agencies should make,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “I appreciate the efforts of every one of the partners who have worked together to reach this point, and will continue my advocacy to help make the restoration of James and Barren islands a reality.”

“Restoring the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Islands is crucial to the success of the Port of Baltimore, our region’s commerce, and to preserving and protecting the Bay and its wildlife. I was proud to support this project, and I’m glad to see the Army Corps reach this agreement with our state partners. I will work to ensure this project remains on course,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Environment and Public Works and Appropriations Committees.

Senators Cardin and Van Hollen fought to ensure that Maryland priorities, including the Mid-Bay Island Project, were included in recent infrastructure legislation. The senators also are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with Army Corps and state officials, along with other project partners, about ways to help move the project forward.

For more information about the Mid-Bay Island Project, please visit