Barren Island Restoration, Phase I, USACE Baltimore District

Value study for USACE Baltimore District


Barren Island is an uninhabited island in the Chesapeake Bay. A scarce and rapidly vanishing ecosystem, the island is experiencing significant acreage loss due to erosive forces and the rising sea level. 

The restoration project provides important erosion protection needed to stabilize the island and create opportunities to restore wetland habitat by supporting the deposition of future fill from maintenance dredging operations. Phase 1 constructs new stone sills and breakwaters to protect the island from wave energy and the sea-level rise. Phase 2 will complete the remaining segments of stone sill, add outfall structures, and create two new islands behind the breakwaters to create bird habitats. Future phases will add sediment fill and vegetation to restore wetland habitat.

  • OBJECTIVEValue Engineering
  • TEAMMultidisciplinary technical team

The Objective

  • Protect this uninhabited island from future rising sea levels
  • Restore and expand the island habitat for wildlife species
feet of sea-level rise protection
of acres of wetland and terrestrial habitat
acres of new wetland constructed
acres of submerged aquatic vegetation protected

The Solution

  • The value team identified 12 proposals for a potential cost savings of $8.7 million with an additional gross life-cycle savings of $3.4 million
  • Building stone sills and breakwaters will accommodate 2 feet of sea-level rise more efficiently at the end of Phase 1 resulting in more resilient structures and reducing the time and cost of remediating poor soils

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