Port Operations: Dredging


The Maryland Port Administration (MPA) manages its Dredged Material Management Program to ensure safe navigation, adequate solutions for the placement of dredged material, and benefits to the Chesapeake ecosystem.

Dredging is the removal of sediment that builds up in shipping channels — a critical process for providing safe passage for ships that travel the channels. Approximately 150 nautical miles of channels run through the Chesapeake Bay, Patapsco River, and Baltimore Harbor. On average, 5 million cubic yards of sediment must be dredged every year to maintain them. It’s a continual challenge to find placement sites and new uses for the large amounts of sediment removed from the channels.

Currently, the Port has three active dredged material placement sites: Masonville, Cox Creek and Poplar Island. As these sites fill to capacity, more solutions will be needed. Future options may include a new site at Coke Point, expansion of the Cox Creek placement site, reactivation of the Pearce Creek placement site, and innovative methods for recycling dredged material.

Safe passage in and around the Port of Baltimore is guided by the Harbor Safety and Coordination Committee, which has been acknowledged as one of the most efficient harbor coordination groups in the county.