An island rises from the Bay

by

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

Today we are hearing from Peter McGowan, environmental contaminants biologist at Chesapeake Bay Field Office.

In the 1600s Poplar Island measured about 2,000 acres. In 1874, roughly 1,140 acres remained. When I visited in 1994, less than 10 acres had lasted.

1847 map of Poplar Island (right) that was used as the design footprint for the restoration’s project construction outline.

Poplar Island was a rapidly eroding island complex in Chesapeake Bay, a few miles south of Annapolis, Maryland. The island lost substantial land (13 feet/year) due to erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise over the past 400 years. This is a common theme for Bay islands to this day. I found myself on one of the few remnants of the island as part of a team with USFWS, U.S. Geological Survey, and The University of Maryland working to identify possible stations to monitor the upcoming Poplar Island restoration project –…

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