Cox Creek Citizens Advisory Committee
Brian Conrad, PBA Board of Directors, Committee Member
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Since my appointment to the advisory committee in October, I have attended 3 different meetings representing our community. The Cox Creek Committee meeting on October 12th, The MD Dredge Material Management Program Annual meeting on November 14th, and a Port of Baltimore Facilities tour on December 6th. Our neighbor to the north, the Port of Baltimore, is a key economic driver for the State of Maryland, and is doing great.
What I have learned from these meetings is this...the port set a record for the 5th consecutive year for general cargo handling. It moved 32 million tons of foreign cargo and 9.6 million tons of general cargo in 2015, and it ranks number 1 of all ports in the United States for movement of light trucks and autos...NUMBER 1!!! The port welcomed the first large container ship that traversed the expanded Panama Canal this year, and they expect more to come. The port also accommodates about 100 cruises a year out of our single cruise ship port. This cruise business is steady and reliable, but not really growable due to only having a single cruise ship facility. Federal funds have been granted to the Port of Baltimore for their successful air quality programs, and they are in the process of converting HVAC systems on the port to natural gas, for even better air quality. In addition to grants, there are approximately 71 million federal dollars coming to the State of Maryland from the Volkswagen emissions settlement. Those dollars will be used for various environmental improvements in the port (i.e Diesel retrofits, Air Quality programs, and Dredge Material use).
COX CREEK COMMITTEE UPDATE!
There are two locations currently accepting dredge material, Masonville, and Cox Creek. Dredge material is a replenishable resource that can be repurposed in a variety of ways to benefit the economy and the environment. Some examples of this are site reclamation, construction materials, manufactured topsoil, and environmental restoration (such as Hart Miller Island and Poplar Island). Up to 5 million cubic yards of sediment are removed from the bay each year, 1.5 million from the Baltimore Harbor Channels alone. This sediment is tested and analyzed to ensure it meets environmental and human health requirements. Once those needs are satisfied, the material is safe and reusable.
The Port realizes that dredging creates concerns for local communities, and it works hard to be a good neighbor and give back as much as possible. Currently they are open to suggestions for dredge material use, as well as projects it can support to better the area. Ideas such as more water access, park creation, and more migrant bird poles for nesting have already been done, but suggestions and ideas are welcome and wanted. If you have thoughts on innovative and beneficial uses of dredged material, you can submit them to email@example.com. You may also send them directly to me through the PBA and I can share the information at quarterly meetings.