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Poplar Island: Understanding the development of a beneficial use restoration site

March 29, 2022

Poplar Island, like many other islands throughout the Chesapeake Bay, eroded from 460 hectares in 1847 to only 1.5 hectares by the 1990’s. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of Transportation, and numerous other state and federal agencies selected this site as the location of a beneficial use project aimed at restoring remote island habitat in the Chesapeake Bay using clean dredge material. While monitoring efforts since the beginning of restoration efforts have documented extensive use of Poplar Island by numerous species across multiple taxa, these efforts have previously lacked context regarding underlying habitat patterns. However, such information is especially important on a site like Poplar Island where habitat distribution and availability can change dramatically between years due to ongoing construction efforts. To address this information gap we digitized annual aerial imagery of Poplar Island from 2006-2017 into 20 habitat classes. The resulting data layers demonstrate the transition of cells along the eastern side of the island from undeveloped cells to planted marsh cells, which matches trends seen in avian monitoring data. Similarly, our data display changes in the distribution of specific resources such as sand across the island, and how individual locations of interest such as constructed habitat islands have evolved over time. We believe that these data will provide critical insight into the factors influencing wildlife distribution patterns on Poplar Island, and will allow for the identification of management actions that may either be targeted or avoided in the planning of future beneficial use projects.

Publication Year 2022
Title Poplar Island: Understanding the development of a beneficial use restoration site
DOI 10.3368/er.40.1.17
Authors Diann Prosser, Jeffery D. Sullivan, Jennifer L. Wall, Evan J Buck, John F. Taylor, Carl R. Callahan, Peter C. McGowan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Restoration
Index ID 70230103
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Ecological Science Center