Sediment dredged from shipping channels leading to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore is helping restore the underutilized Ridgley’s Cove park property in Baltimore City into a multi-use recreation area with walking trails. Restoration of Ridgley’s Cove, located behind Horseshoe Casino and adjacent to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, makes use of sediment from the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration’s (MDOT MPA) Cox Creek Dredged Material Containment Facility. The project is the largest example of innovative reuse of dredged sediment from Baltimore Harbor channels.
“Baltimore is world renowned for its beneficial use of dredge material, and the Ridgley’s Cove reconstruction is further proof of Maryland’s ingenuity,” said MDOT MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle. “Continuous dredging is critical to accommodate the ships that enter the Port of Baltimore to deliver high volumes of cargo and support tens of thousands of jobs. We can use this dredged material to restore, reclaim and rebuild property in surrounding communities.”
MDOT MPA is working on the project with the Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Environmental Service, Baltimore City, Baltimore Development Corporation and the company, TopGolf, in a unique partnership of local and state government, a nonprofit and private industry. CBY, a Dundalk-based hauling company, is handling the dredged material transport from Cox Creek to Ridgley’s Cove, with 150 to 180 trucks a day transporting sediment to the site.
Approximately 22,000 cubic yards of blended sediment from the Cox Creek facility will be used as capping material in the upland restoration of Ridgley’s Cove. Historical research of the site indicates environmental impacts stemming from land use activities dating back to the late 1800s. Restoration of the upland and nearshore environment is part of a mitigation package associated with the future TopGolf facility. Plans involve remediation of existing environmental impacts and reestablishing the site as a recreational asset.
“The partnership at Ridgley’s Cove between public, private and nonprofit sectors demonstrates how we can make a difference in our communities when we work together,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “The project also highlights, yet again, the environmental and economic benefits we can achieve through creative use of dredged materials.”
“We love environmental partnerships like this with the Port of Baltimore and others to turn potential waste into wealth, putting sediment to work for parks and communities while helping to keep channels of commerce open and thriving,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
“This is truly a terrific example of how working across jurisdictions and areas of expertise can bring about projects that transform neglected and underutilized property to improve the quality of life in our communities,” said Kim Clark, executive vice president of Baltimore Development Corporation. “BDC, on behalf of the city, is very excited about this opportunity.”
Ridgely’s Cove is the latest example of MDOT MPA using dredged sediment in innovative ways. In the past year, more than 32,000 cubic yards of sediment have been dewatered and transported for offsite restoration projects. That dewatered volume is equivalent to about 100,000 cubic yards of recovered capacity at the Cox Creek facility. This provides Cox Creek with the needed capacity to continue receiving dredged sediment from Port shipping channels.
In January, MDOT MPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) marked completion of the final expansion at Poplar Island, a project that over the past 23 years has restored this badly eroded island near Talbot County from 10 acres to its original 1,150-acre footprint using dredged sediment. MDOT MPA and USACE are now planning the Mid-Chesapeake Bay Island Ecosystem Restoration, which will use recovered sediment to rebuild two islands off the coast of Dorchester County. In recent months, the Maryland Board of Public Works has also approved several contracts with private companies to explore using dredged material to create construction materials such as concrete and brick pavers.
MDOT MPA has taken on other types of environmental restoration projects as well. Masonville Cove in Baltimore is the former home of Kurt Iron and Metal and the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. More than 61,000 tons of trash and debris dating back to the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 were cleared by MDOT MPA upon Masonville’s opening in 2008. In 2013, Masonville Cover was named the nation’s first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, and today the facility includes walking trails, a fishing pier and education center. On the other side of Masonville Cove is the Masonville/Fairfield auto terminal managed by the MDOT MPA.