WASHINGTON—Starting Oct. 19, 2015, The National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin small-scale geotechnical drilling at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve. This investigation is in preparation for a proposed interagency project to restore up to 100 acres of freshwater tidal marsh within the 485-acre Dyke Marsh. A 2009 study of Dyke Marsh by the NPS and the U.S. Geological Society found that this unique ecosystem would be entirely lost by 2035 without restoration efforts.
Drilling will occur between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily and is expected to last approximately one week, dependent on weather. The noise level is anticipated to be minimal and intermittent throughout the day. Geotechnical drilling is part of the project's investigative process that will provide sediment samples from the marsh. The findings from sediment samples will help determine the stability and composition of the foundation for the proposed promontory and will help in the design of the project.
Dyke Marsh, managed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway, is home to more than 300 species of plants and 270 species of birds – including the only known breeding population of marsh wrens in the region.
"Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is one of the largest remaining freshwater, tidal wetlands in the Washington metro area," said Alex Romero, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. "Dyke Marsh has extensive value, not only for the flora and fauna that exist within, but for the recreational, educational and cultural values that the marsh provides. We are very excited to move forward with the first phase of the project to restore this very sensitive resource."
The marsh has been altered through 40 years of mining and other human factors, leaving the area exposed to storm waves, susceptible to erosion, and unable to sustain itself.
"This vital project will provide a storm buffer for the historic and scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, a natural filter to clean the Potomac River, and critical habitat for a variety of wildlife," Col. Ed Chamberlayne, USACE Baltimore District commander said. "We are excited that restoration efforts are underway, and we are looking forward to working with our partners at the National Park Service on another successful project."
In 2013, Congress recognized Dyke Marsh as an invaluable resource to the greater Washington region and allocated $24.9 million to restore the site.
The restoration efforts are anticipated to begin summer 2017 and expected to take four years. The wetlands at Dyke Marsh will be restored using clean sandy material and planted with native wetland vegetation. The peninsula to the south of the marsh that had been previously removed will also be restored.
The project team is looking for potential sources of clean dredged material at no cost for restoration purposes. If you have any information, please contact Rolando Sanidad, project manager, at 410-962-2668 or Rolando.Sanidad@usace.army.mil.