The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mid-Atlantic Region today honored the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) with a 2010 Environmental Achievement Award. The award recognized the MPA’s role in several environmental programs, including Dredged Material Management, Clean Diesel, and Schoolyard Greening. MPA Deputy Executive Director M. Kathleen Broadwater and Deputy Director of Harbor Development Frank Hamons accepted the award today during an EPA reception in Philadelphia.

“The MPA is very honored to receive this national recognition for our environmental programs,” said MPA Deputy Executive Director M. Kathleen Broadwater. “From rebuilding islands and wetlands in Maryland waters using dredged material, to helping to reduce emissions in and around the Port of Baltimore, the MPA, under the leadership of Governor Martin O’Malley, will continue looking for additional ways to minimize our carbon footprint, improve air and water quality, and protect the health of our port workers, neighboring communities, and Chesapeake Bay.”

The MPA’s Dredged Material Management Program helps to provide for safe and reliable shipping channels that lead to the Port of Baltimore. Dredging the bottom of shipping channels must be done to accommodate ever-increasingly large cargo vessels. The Dredge Material Management Program looks for beneficial and innovate ways to reuse the dredged material including wetland restoration, island recreation, upland placement, and carefully-engineered containment facilities. The MPA works very closely in a team approach with several different community and citizens groups in order to locate, plan, and design a suitable and environmentally beneficial use for dredged material. Two Maryland islands that have been restored to original capacity using dredged material after years of erosion and are now home to many species of birds and other wildlife are Poplar Island, located off Talbot County, and Hart-Miller Island, located off Baltimore County.

“Over the past several years, while managing millions of cubic yards of dredged material taken from the bottom of the Baltimore Harbor and Chesapeake Bay, the Maryland Port Administration has improved water quality, reduced air emissions, created wildlife habitat and become the largest creator of wetlands in Maryland,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “The port administration’s contribution is improving the environment in the mid-Atlantic region.”

The Port of Baltimore’s Clean Diesel Program helps clean the air in and around the Port by installing more efficient technologies in diesel-powered equipment used for Port operations like harbor craft, locomotives, dray trucks, and on-dock handling equipment. The technologies include engine repowers, equipment replacements, exhaust controls, and idling devices. In its first year of existence the equipment in the Clean Diesel Program resulted in a 50 percent reduction in particulate matter, 31 percent reduction in nitric oxides, 12 percent reduction in carbon dioxide, and 12 percent reduction in fuel.