In 2017, EA initiated a multi-year water quality monitoring project in association with the expansion of the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island (Poplar Island), Chesapeake Bay, Talbot County, Maryland. The 575-acre lateral expansion of Poplar Island required the construction of a network of new dike structures comprised of sand, gravel, and stone armoring in an open water area north and east of the existing landmass. On behalf of Maryland Environmental Service, EA developed and implemented a project-specific monitoring plan that utilized a series of field techniques to evaluate water column turbidity and suspended sediment concentrations to document compliance with environmental requirements.
A conductivity, temperature, and depth profiler equipped with an optical backscatter sensor unit was employed as the primary means of data collection. Water sampling was also performed at several stations as part of each monitoring event to support total suspended solids analysis. Compliance monitoring was performed several times per week at the outset of the construction project to verify methodologies employed by the construction contractor were effective at limiting the areal size and concentration of the turbidity plume. Over time, the frequency of monitoring events was reduced to weekly and bi-weekly as continued compliance with requirements was documented.