The island complex of Poplar-Jefferson-Coaches islands has had a long history that including brief ownership by the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1800s, the island was more than 1100 acres of mostly mixed pine-hardwoods, shrubs, and salt marsh with a few freshwater ponds. By the early 1990s, Jefferson and Coaches had split off, and Poplar had eroded to only a few acres. An Army Corps-MD Port Administration project was funded in the mid 1990s, and construction of a large contained dredge material disposal- 'Beneficial Use' facility was begun in 1999. Wetland cell planting began in 2003 in one cell. The future plan for restoration calls for a 50:50 mix of upland habitat and tidal marshes. Shell/sand islands have been especially designed to attract terns within the wetland cells. Target breeding species to attract are: Least and Common Terns, Snowy Egrets (and other waders), Ospreys, American Black Ducks, and American Oystercatchers. For the past two years, more than 800 pairs of Common Terns and 60 pairs of Least Terns have attempted nesting, along with 5-6 pairs of Ospreys, and in 2004, about 50 pairs of Snowy Egrets. The terns have produced no fledglings however either in 2003 or 2004, and research is underway to determine factors. Egrets, in contrast, did very well in 2004, as did Ospreys. Along with these species, however, came> 400 pairs of Double-crested Cormorants, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, Canada Geese and Mute Swans. USDA has implemented partial control measures.
Additional Publication Details
Poplar island restoration in Chesapeake Bay: from Morton's wrens to tern Mecca
Wilson Ornithological Society and Association of Field Ornithologists Joint Meeting, April 21-24, Beltsville, Maryland. Abstracts