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Posted 9/18/2013

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By Stacy Ouellette
Baltimore District

The Baltimore District and Maryland Port Administration hosted a delegation of 22 environmentalists, government officials and scholars from 20 different countries for a tour of the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration project at Poplar Island.

“Poplar Island is a unique and beneficial project and we love to share it whenever the opportunity arises,” said Justin Callahan, project manager. “It’s always great to see the initial reaction to those who have never visited previously.  Their amazement and positive feedback shows we are on the right track.”

The group was a part of the Maryland International Visitors Leadership Program administered by World Trade Center Institute on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.

The objectives of the tour were to explore U.S. efforts to protect biodiversity through environmental protection policies through sustainable water and land management programs.  Additionally, the group had open discussions about necessary resources and decisions made on the project.

“I was surprised at the level of their knowledge and specifics in questioning about the processes we’re using here on the island,” Callahan said.  “It’s always refreshing to interact with outside experts on what we’re doing here.”

The tour was one part of the program which targeted environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.  It was designed to provide insight into water management and land use issues here in Maryland and provide another method or restoration and preservation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Poplar Island is internationally known and has been attracting diverse groups of worldwide visitors for some time,” Callahan said.  “Our intent has always been to have this project serve as a model for ecosystem restoration and the beneficial use of dredged material.”

The delegation appeared to be impressed by the processes used to restore Poplar Island as well as the naturally developing eco-system with a variety of animals inhabiting the project.  

They were also interested in the unique collaboration of the Maryland Port Administration with various federal government agencies on the project. 

civil works dredging environment International visitors Poplar Island sustainability