ShoreRivers wetland restoration project constructed at Chesapeake College

The Agriculture to Ecosystem project will prevent about 56 tons of sediment, 885 pounds of nitrogen, and 89 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Wye River, according to ShoreRivers.

WYE MILLS — ShoreRivers recently completed construction of a large restoration project on Chesapeake College’s Wye Mills campus that will significantly reduce nutrient and sediment pollution entering the Wye River complex, the nonprofit organization announced Monday, Nov. 15.

The Chesapeake College Agriculture to Ecosystem project converted nearly 29 acres of an agricultural field – which contributed to pollution in the Wye River – into two ponds, a series of wetland cells with habitat islands, and planted infiltration berms.

Over 13 acres of tree plantings are slated to take place by next spring, according to a press release.

ShoreRivers and Chesapeake College have undergone over 20 different restoration projects since 2016, including a stream restoration, bioswale installation, and conversions from turf to wildflower meadows, according to ShoreRivers Director of Operations and Finance Kristin Junkin.

The campus’ location near the headwaters of the Wye East River make the efforts to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution “particularly important,” Junkin said, as the river is impaired by nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, and seasonal bacteria pollution.

“We are grateful to the college for collaborating with us to accomplish this important work for clean rivers,” she added.

Funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Agriculture to Ecosystem project restored 28.72 acres of marginal cropland to ponds, wetlands, and forest. Additionally, a 2,200 foot walking path was constructed for students to use as an outdoor laboratory.

Sitting next to the southbound lane of Route 50, the project will prevent approximately 56 tons of sediment, 885 pounds of nitrogen, and 89 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Wye River every year, according to a press release.

“We’re proud of the sustainability efforts at Chesapeake and of our long partnership with ShoreRivers,” said Chesapeake College President Clifford P. Coppersmith.

“This latest project preserves the natural beauty of Chesapeake’s campus while contributing to the environmental health of the surrounding area and providing hands-on learning opportunities for our students,” Coppersmith continued. “We work with ShoreRivers to ensure that the resources and way of life on the Eastern Shore can be sustained for future generations.”

For more information about the Chesapeake College restoration projects, contact Junkin by email at kjunkin@shorerivers.org, or by phone at 443-385-0511 ext. 204.

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