ChesaTrekers to tour Poplar Island April 13

| March 26, 2016
Poplar Island

Photo: Maryland Environmental Services

The West & Rhode Riverkeeper will lead a tour to Poplar Island on Wednesday, April 13, as the first of new series of “ChesaTreks” adventures.

“This is a fun way to explore the Chesapeake Bay,” says Riverkeeper Jeff Holland. “We’ll host one new adventure every month, each one calculated to highlight an environmental or historical treasure. We’ll bring along an expert to educate a small group, take a tour by boat or kayak, and then savor the experience with conversation over some local food and drink.” 

The first ChesaTrek adventure will be a tour to Poplar Island near Tilghman Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “This was one of our disappearing islands,” Holland explains, “but it’s become a national model of environmental restoration.” 

According to 1847 charts, Poplar Island was about 1,100 acres, but erosion and sea level rise washed away all but five acres by 1993. The Maryland Environmental Service essentially recreated the island using clean dredged material from the Port of Baltimore’s approach channels.

According to MES sources, the process involves placing, shaping, and planting some 40 million cubic yards of dredged material within a dike constructed to approximate the 1847 footprint. The first two phases of dike construction were completed by 2002, and dredged material placement began in 2001. In 2014, the project was authorized for a 575-acre expansion which is scheduled to begin as early as 2016 and will increase the total project size to 1,715 acres, allowing for a project placement total of 68 million cubic yards of material. 

The restored island provides habitat for a wide array of birds, terrapins, and other wildlife. “Definitely bring your binoculars,” Holland notes. “This is a birder’s paradise.” The day’s schedule starts with a Lighthouse Limo ride from Discovery Village in Shady Side. The group will board the MES boat at Knapp’s Narrows to get out to the island. After the tour, lunch will be at Character’s Bridge Restaurant overlooking the Narrows. The menu includes crab cakes, rockfish sandwich or chicken Caesar salad and soft drinks. The limo will arrive back at Discovery Village at about 3:30 p.m.

The cost is $100 per person, including transportation (courtesy of Lighthouse Limos) and lunch. Proceeds help the Riverkeeper keep the West & Rhode Rivers fishable, swimmable, kayak-able and crab-able.

Reservations are required. Call 410-867-7171 or log on to www.WestRhodeRiverkeeper.org.

Details for Poplar Island Tour 

Schedule: 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lighthouse Limo leaves 7 a.m.

                Park at Discovery Village, 4800 Atwell Road, Shady Side, MD 20764 

Tour 9 a.m. – noon

Lunch: Noon – 1:30 p.m.

                Character’s Bridge Restaurant

Lighthouse Limo leaves Tilghman Island at 1:45 p.m.

                Arrives at Discovery Village at 3:30 p.m. 

Blackwall Hitch

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