Project to Improve Boating Navigation and Safety
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Sixth District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins visited the Bird River waterfront in Middle River on Thursday to announce a dredging project to support recreational boating on the upper Bird River and enhance the county’s waterfront communities.
“Our waterfront is one of Baltimore County’s best amenities and this project will help homeowners and recreational boaters access the Bird River and benefit from being on the water,” said Kamenetz. “With more than 200 miles of waterfront and 2,000 miles of streams and tributaries in the County, we are committed to protecting our waterways and our Clean Green County initiative is restoring streambanks and shorelines, planting trees, even sweeping streets, all to protect the Bay.”
The project will dredge sections of Bird River and Railroad Creek in order to improve boating navigation and safety. The upper reaches of Bird River and Railroad Creek have become silted in from sedimentation of the river, resulting in reduced channel depth. Bird River and Railroad Creek were previously dredged in 2002-2003.
“This is a project that everyone is certainly looking forward to, especially at the upper reaches of the river to allow people to get their boats out,” said Bevins.
The design and permitting of the Bird River maintenance dredging project will be initiated in FY18 with construction anticipated to begin approximately two years from that date. The project will restore the river channels to the previously permitted design depths, removing an estimated 50,000 cubic yards of material from 25,650 linear feet of the channel.
The estimated cost is $4.5 million, with partial funding provided through grants by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Waterway Improvement Fund. The County will fund 55% of the project cost with the remaining 45% coming from the State grant.
Hydrographic surveys were conducted in 2015 to assess the need for maintenance dredging. The results of the survey indicated that portions of the channel upstream from Stumpf’s Marsh and Railroad Creek have filled in two feet or more than the design depth of the channel. The dredging will remove about 50,000 cubic yards of material from 25,650 linear feet of the channel and place it at the Baltimore County dredge material containment facility adjacent to Bowerman Lane.
Waterfront Residents May Choose to Finance Spur Channels to Restore Boating Access to their Properties
In the upcoming year Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) will conduct a community meeting to discuss the proposed waterway dredging. At that time waterfront property owners may elect to have a spur channel dredged from the County’s main channel to their individual pier or boat ramp at their own expense. EPS will provide assistance with spur design, permitting and construction. Additionally, the County will offer 10-year interest free loans to qualified individuals.