The Hart-Miller Island Dredged Material Containment Facility, located between the mouths of Back and Middle Rivers in Baltimore County, was created as a containment facility for sediment dredged from the access channels to the Baltimore Harbor. But bold plans, developed in concert with the scientific community and the public, have extended that vision to provide wildlife habitat.
Once a series of eroded island fragments, Hart-Miller Island began receiving dredged material in May 1984. Dikes contain a 1,100-acre basin where the dredged sediment settles. The basin is divided into two areas: the South Cell and the North Cell.
The South Cell stopped receiving material in December 1990 and has been restored for wildlife habitat. The Maryland Port Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transformed the South Cell into a major stopover site for migratory shorebirds, as well as a breeding/nesting ground for rare, threatened, and endangered bird species of Maryland. The restoration has created a pond, a bird-nesting island, wetlands and mudflats for shorebird habitat, and upland grasses songbird habitat. The Audubon Society includes the island on its list of Important Bird Areas.
The North Cell, which received its last inflow of dredged material in December 2009, is also known for a high concentrations of waterbirds. Plans for habitat restoration of the North Cell are underway.
Adjacent to the 1,100-acre placement facility is the Hart-Miller Island State Park, which opened in 1981. Thousands of Maryland citizens visit the park by boat each year.
Hart-Miller Island Tours
Tours and educational programs at Hart-Miller Island focus on the dredged material containment operations, habitat restoration, environmental monitoring, and recreation. Study environmental science, along with the natural and cultural history of the Chesapeake Bay.
Tours are open to both school groups and community groups. With advance notice, tour themes and activities can be customized to your needs and interests.