BERLIN — The U.S. Senate last week approved Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s request for $53 million in the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for waterway projects in the state, including $1 million for Assateague Island and $1.5 million for the Wicomico River.
Mikulski secured the $53 million appropriation for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects throughout the state. The largest projects include $18.6 million for maintenance dredging for the C&D Canal, $13.9 million for the dredging of the shipping channels in the port of Baltimore, and $12 million for the continuation of the Poplar Island restoration project.
However, also included in the appropriation is $1 million for restoration efforts on Assateague Island that will protect the northern end of the island and its fragile habitat. The spending bill also includes $1.5 million for the dredging of the upper portion of the Wicomico River in and around the port of Salisbury, which is the second largest port in Maryland in terms of handling petroleum products and grain. The waterway also supports barge traffic crucial to maintaining adequate fuel supplies on Delmarva.
“This bill is a jobs bill,” said Mikulski. “This federal investment in the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on clean and open waterways will keep businesses open and keep Marylanders working.”