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County Executive Steve Schuh Highlights $5 Million County Waterway Dredging Program

County Executive Steve Schuh

Deale, MD (May 4, 2018) – County Executive Steve Schuh, along with Delegate Seth Howard, today highlighted Anne Arundel’s recently proposed $5 million waterway dredging program and announced a $690,000 joint State/County effort to dredge Rockhold Creek in Deale.  

“Our waterways are the life blood of our County,” said Schuh. “Our enhanced dredging program will ensure our wetlands remain vibrant and our marinas businesses flourish.”

The proposed $690,000 dredging project for Rockhold Creek Federal Channel will be funded by both the County and State. The Rockhold Creek Federal Channel was originally authorized in the 1940’s and included construction of the north jetty at the harbor entrance. The south jetty was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) in 2006 to provide additional protection to Herring Bay, Rockhold Creek and Tracys Creek following Hurricane Isabel in 2003. The channel requires periodic maintenance dredging and was most recently dredged in 2009.

The waterway is accessible to the surrounding residential waterfront properties, residents from local communities with boat ramps, and local and transient boaters for recreational use. Waterway access to and from the Chesapeake Bay is possible via Herring Bay which the proposed project runs through. The Herring Bay, Rockhold Creek, and Tracys Creek harbor are among the busiest commercial and recreational harbors in the Chesapeake Bay with several commercial watermen, a large charter boat fleet, numerous waterfront restaurants, extensive marine repair services and more than 2,000 commercial and recreational boat slips.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently conducted a bathymetric survey of the Rockhold Creek Federal Channel. The survey showed shoaling, loss of depth and lateral encroachment at the entrance of Rockhold Creek since the channel was last dredged. Maintenance dredging along certain portions of the channel is now required to maintain navigational access. The alignment of the proposed dredging project is located within the footprint of the previously dredged channel.

The Federal Channel has been historically maintained by the federal government, with Anne Arundel County, as the local sponsor, being responsible for providing the dredge placement facility. Also, the majority of the cost of the dredge placement facility was born by federal government and State of Maryland. However, in recent years the federal funding has been drastically reduced, and in order for the project to proceed, Anne Arundel County has stepped up to obtain the necessary permits and perform the required maintenance dredging of the Federal Channel. The purpose of this project is to perform the necessary design, permitting and construction activities for removal of approximately 5,900 cubic yards of material from the entrance channel of Rockhold Creek, to maintain boating access.

The proposed County capital funding was made possible through the JumpStart Anne Arundel capital project financing program. Enacted in 2015, the capital plan embraces a 30-year bond financing option. This reform has allowed Anne Arundel County to expand its capital funding program and make environmental and quality of life infrastructure improvements from Brooklyn Park to Pasadena to Annapolis to Odenton. 

The proposed funding is included in the County Executive's proposed FY2019 capital budget presented on May 1st.

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