all right good afternoon I’m Tracy Baetz and the chief curator here with the Interior Museum and after being on hiatus last month it’s great to be back here with our lecture series and it’s a real pleasure to welcome you here this afternoon as many of you know this lecture series compasses a very wide range of topics historical environmental scientific to really reflect the diverse workings of our bureaus and the Department of the Interior as a whole past and present in today’s presentation is no exception before we get started I did want to draw your attention to the fact that you could all have in your seats with you a feedback form and we encourage you to fill those out and deposit them in the tray outside at the end of the lecture your input really does help us make this series the best that it can be and in terms of lectures coming up in March we’ll be hearing from two conservators with the National Park Service’s Harpers Ferry Center they’ll be speaking on some fascinating and recent restoration projects of national treasures that have taken them throughout the country and in April Douglass Peter from Bessie Bureau of safety and environmental enforcement will be joining us to talk about their rigs to reefs program where decommissioned oil and gas platforms are repurposed into artificial reefs supporting an abundance of marine life we’ve also reached back out to our speakers from January about rescheduling the talk that was waylaid by the shutdown they were gonna be giving that on sea turtle by logging projects in the Gulf of Mexico so look for that to come back on a future schedule for us as well but turning to today’s presentation and today’s presenter Peter McGowan is a senior wildlife biologist who’s been with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and their Chesapeake field office Chesapeake Bay fuel office in Annapolis for more than 25 years he has an associate degree in environmental studies Bachelors of Science degree in biology and a Masters of Science in environmental science and policy his professional career has involved investigations of contaminants and their effects on water birds he’s done considerable oil spill planning and response both within the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere in the US and over the past dozen years he’s been the lead biologist at the Paul s sarbanes ecosystem restoration project at poplar Island and that’s what he’s gonna be talking to us about today in that role he is charged with overseeing wildlife management activities on the island and literally converting spoil to splendour for the benefit of Wildlife on this remote island habitat so please join me in welcoming Peter Madonna spoiler splendors snow story Chesapeake Bay Island restoration and I’m gonna be focusing on the Paul Sr Baines ecological restoration project that popular in Talbot County Maryland and Paul sarbanes was a senator from Maryland he was instrumental in getting this project funded and authorized going ahead from now on they’ll be calling two popular on that’s pretty mouthful to say right keep on going but I’m gonna talk a little bit about the history of poplar Island and the big background history a little bit about the Port of Baltimore which is really important which drives this project and what the role of the Fish and Wildlife Service is in this project so you know it’s the facts about Baltimore it’s one of the oldest ports and the country’s over 300 years old and it’s one of three East Coast ports that have a 50-foot channel it’s that 50 foot depth that drives this project the big ships need to come in to the Port of Baltimore to unload and take on cargo that needs to be maintained at that 50-foot channel that’s more about you know the busiest ports in 2015 it was ranked the 13th busiest most of the cargo that does come on to the uplands into the port or is roll-on/roll-off cargo it’s a lot of vehicles trucks tractors and things of that nature but other types of materials do come in like ambulance and Rock and stuff like that but you can may I’m gonna go through every one of these but you can get an idea of how important the potable boredom port the Baltimore is to the state of Maryland I mean it’s a lot of jobs involved with the port brings in a lot of money and a lot of taxes so a little bit about the history of popular was first settle in the 1630s the small community was on there and raising livestock and crops and things that nature tobacco which was a big product at the time 16:37 the Nanticoke tribe visit the island while the men were away and massacred the wife and servants and some of the work was on the property 1812 the war of 1812 became a British encampment in the harbor in the on the island but mid-1800s the honor reduced down to 1140 acres originally was around 2,000 acres probably in the 1600s or so and the 1800s black cat fur was the biggest rage in China some interest from they thought hey I’m gonna bring some black cats out to the I haven’t start raising them and

I’m gonna make some money some quick money Wow they froze over all the cats left the island they went to the mainland said myth is that’s why they said many black cats won’t tell me I don’t know if that’s true or not but it’s got some plausibility but lady hundreds jana started breaking up into into three small islands there was still an active community on the island fishing and farming community at his own post office they had a school small school had a general store store they also had a sawmill part that sawmill was logging the island and those trees were actually holding that island together once the trees were caught it started rapidly disappearing by the 1920s residents left the island and it was bought by a Democratic politicians and it was used as a retreat to get away from from Washington nice peaceful retreat in fact presidents Roosevelt and Truman had visited the quite a bit by the 1940s papa was sold to the former caretaker of the island and became a hunting retreat so what is popular Island today so it’s a forty year project using beneficial use of material from the dredge deposits from the approach channels to Baltimore and they have to maintain that 50-foot channel it’s actually an international model for Island restoration we’ve had a lot of folks coming from the Netherlands China Japan they’re all interested in doing similar projects perspective countries one of the primary focus is to provide high-quality island have’t at both Oakland and wetland for wildlife use and the primary driver is of clone two water birds and other bird species construction began in 1998 with a rock perimeter and it was broken up into sub units and is expected to be completed in 2043 and it also includes an expansion project that’s going to have another additional five hundred seventy acres to the north end of the island I have a lot of the aerials going to show you some side-by-side comparisons so you can imagine a project of this scope because a lot of partners are involved US Army Corps of Engineers funds 75% of the project and rare imported administration provides the other 25% and the day-to-day operations are conducted out by the Maryland and Vaughn mental service so they’re responsible for getting the contractors on site making sure materials move there’s appropriate areas on the eye on and construction is done accordingly as some other federal agencies involved US Fish and Wildlife Service that’s our role in there for wildlife management we work really closely with USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center for even monitoring nowhere does a lot of the Fisheries work out there we also have a number of our universities that are working out there – University of Maryland one point lab does a lot of the wetland and sediment chemistry work out there we worked closely with those guys and Ohio University has a very active Diamondback Terrapin program out there where they all tag all the Terrapin nests and they’ll capture young tagged them and then I think it’s like to go to each of the schools in Anne Arundel County and the kids get to do actual science they’ll raise the Terrapins into the classroom and they’ll come back and at the end of the school season and release their Terrapins and it’s called the headstart program but by the time they release them those Terrapins that the size of a three-year-old Terrapin in the wild that’s pretty successful we have work out there so you know why bother with a project like this well we lost over 10,000 acres in the midday in the last 150 years that’s a lot of sediment deposition in the bay a popular they were raised it up to 13 feet per year with being lost primarily due to erosion subsidence which is mostly associated with isostatic rebound and sea level rise and prior to the end of the 20th century we’ve lost Brayden five hundred islands in the bay I just mentioned as a big loss 90 was a loss of you know Island wetland habitat lost a lot of know culturally significant areas both Native American and European settlements both of those have been lost to the bay you can think of Jamestown as one of those early settlements rights washed out into the river but the 1980s Maryland outlawed overboard disposal to the typical technique was to go to the channel Oh dredge the channel you can imagine what the environmental impacts of that is right you got increased turbidity got smothering that’s been things like that so the choice was to try and create ion habitats and it knows there’s an important habitat type here in the bay we’re not trying to do some Island restoration and also a lot you know

nesting flow into water birds for their success they really depend on these remote island habitats they’re typically free and the mailing predators and their reproductive size is much more successful when they’re on these remote islands so this is an aerial one of the earliest known aerials of poplar you can see it right here this is popular right here this is Jefferson Island and this is coaches these two are privately owned right now you can see how intact it is right here you notice all these submerged aquatic vegetation beds right here gentlemen right here would would be the Bay Bridge if it was a current issue so they reach this is the southern tip of Kenna Island a little bit closer image you can see the forest on the island some farming areas right here this is the pier that goes to Jefferson that became eventually became that Humpty plug for the Democratic clubs 1994 a lot of erosion ions started breaking up these are those two private islands I just showed you this island here was a middle poplar it was a remnant it was a very important parent Chesapeake Bay and stopgap measure to try and protect this from the West would fetch was to put a semi arc of old abandoned barges out there and it worked really well it held that until the project got underway so today there was barges there right here and that’s that little remnant right here so you can see I mean big difference from 1994 there just know the graphical representation of you know from 1631 2117 acres have been lost and the blue represents what this was in 1847 this is the earliest known map what area that we knew what the actual acreage was then the green represent what was there in late 1993 so I said just probably losing Island said you know this is this was down in Holland Island down the lower Bay and this photo is from 1890 and you can see through the years talk about y’all to the waterfront community from the property right so what was kind of interesting is I was out in June 2010 we’re doing some Peregrine work I took the picture of the house through the last remaining house that was on the island I did some digging looking for older pictures and this house is this house right here it overlays perfectly it’s unbelievable it’s the same from the same angle I mean not talk about luck trying to get that picture right but in 2010 we had a storm come through and it just washed them to the bay oh it’s there now it’s a old piece of machinery out there some shoals but the birds are still using that area a lot of pelicans in that area so the design features for popular 1140 acres to 50% wetlands and 50% uplands and it’s based on that 1847 footprint we’re actually adding at adding another additional 570 acres to the north end we’ll bring it up to 1700 and 10 acres the marsh ratios are gonna be 80% low Marsh 20% high Marsh we’re actually talking about changing that ratio to more of a 50/50 as because he’ll ever rise that low Marsh can encroach into that into the high marshy areas if not we’re probably gonna have open water impoundments in 20 years whatever the storage capacity for the dredged material is 68 million cubic yards we’re presently at 35 million cubic yards at present so this is the truth this is a 2017 areal this is the expansion that’s underway right now this red line right here represents the center dike Road everything to the side of it eventually be upland forests they’ll be Meadows grassland freshwater ponds and that nature and they’ll be draining down into these tidal salt marsh areas down here and each one of these units is called a cell and within these cells you can create what I’ve known as habitat Islands in there either vegetated or sparsely vegetated parrot species we try to encourage just another side by side comparison October 2018 there’s that remnant there’s that same rambling before the construction took place and you can see the sediment plumes coming off of these so the main goals three primary main goals is to restore Island habitat and mid Chesapeake Bay using clean dredge

material from the approach channels to Baltimore optimized site capacity for clean dredge material none of the material that comes to the island is very it’s not contaminate it’s pretty relatively clean nothing of it nothing comes out of the Baltimore Harbor so I think it does get tested and also to protect the surrounding environment where the restoration sites actually taken place regards to the restoration bowls trying to create remote and diverse Island Habitat ReStore quiescent water habitat and button popular harbor and to promote submerged aquatic vegetation recovery and I will say we do not plan any submerged aquatic vegetation it’s just treating the conditions for the for the plants to come in and you’re starting to see that create enhanced tidal wetlands provide fish and wildlife habitat and this these to refer to they up the habitat like I just mentioned this create remote they’re sparsely vegetated islands within restored marshes provide nesting habitat for ground nesting birds such as common and least terns black skin rose and oyster catchers and also to create these vegetated islands where we have some a shrub community where we can get herons and things like that and also provide cover for black to black duck which is a faithful species for us so what’s the Fish and Wildlife Service is role in this well we we were responsible for overall wildlife management on the island we work on developing wildlife management plans the general plan that we developed we had plans from these turned management cormorant management to cease response and things like that we do a lot of monitoring for wildlife wetland monitoring and SAV monitoring by the way we’re all looking for volunteers anybody wants to volunteer and come out with this but you have plenty of opportunities to come out we do a lot of predator and nuisance species surveillance and control habitat enhancement we do disease response and we also provide technical assistance to the real amount of service and to the Army Corps with regards to avian monitoring we have over two hundred thirty species documented on site right now 30 plus nesting species and that is confirmed and we probably have closer to 36 to 40 species probable we work really closely with USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research on the monitoring some of those species that we do some intense monitoring including the least and common turns which are state threatened in the state of Maryland we work Snowy Egrets and a lot of osprey monitoring and with regards to the Osprey you can see we have data from 2003 to 2008 een you can see that upward trend on the numbers we got a little bit of a drop-off here in 2016 if you recall those were really wet Mays that we had cold and wet that’s the main incubation time for Ospreys they just didn’t do that well I’m just just went down but in 2018 conditions were ideal we had a record year and because of the intense Osprey monitoring that we do do we would do it once a week we started an osprey foster program I started in 2009 and we work really closely with tri-state bird rescue if something you may have heard of them they’re an internationally renowned oil spill response world I’ve had a lot of experience working to them and they contacted us they said they had some osprey chicks that fallen out of a nest and they needed to have any nests that we could put them in because of the data that we have from the avian monetary work with Ospreys we know the exact age of every nest actually to the day for each for each chick that’s in those nests so he can take those chicks age them and then we know the appropriate nuts and they can go to so the handling times minimize put them in those nest and they do pretty well you have a really high success rate at least when they fledged what happens after that I’m not sure but we thought 240 chicks as of 2018 another focal species forests are common turns in these turns common turns are in green and yellow these turns are in the owl you said we got hatching successes on the right hand column and numbered nest on the left and you can see prior to 2015 we had some good hatching success him because good numbers there was a depression in 2015 anybody want to take a guess what happened 2015 see if anybody’s close huh I’ll keep you in suspense for a couple more minutes but anyhow you can see the numbers are starting to rebound that

brings us to our predator nuisance species surveillance and control the number of species that we do work with we try to keep marrying predators down especially fox and things like that right don’t really have any record notes that we did have one but anymore muskrats were a big concern for the Army Corps of Engineers they want us to take a lot of the rights out we we felt that they’re an important part of Marsh ecosystems so we just didn’t want to randomly take as many as we could so we developed a population model based on our foraging rates numbers of individuals per for heart unit and things like that and we use both ground low ground biomass data from the University of Maryland to be develop the population model we could develop a carrying capacity for each wetland so so when we do our surveys in the in the winter which we actually do it right now we can get an idea of how many are in each cell if we see the carrying capacity and that’s the number that we they’re so went through 2014 extremely cold winter we had ice 16 inches thick from shore to shore as part of the day it’s also a great time to travel if you’re a Fox makes and got a lot of sub adults at that time here trying to find a new gear to new New Territories and start their families I found that animated get by had to put that in here but anyhow we did we had seven foxes come out on the island and they actually caused havoc in the during holidays for sure when we got to the island didn’t like February we had a fresh snow and we saw prints and thought maybe you have one out there hope you caught that one there was showing up so we finally got the last one actually in Christmas 2017 2000 2017 right and that last one was very weary I mean he he knew what we were up to it was unbelievable how smart this fox was that’s what they say there there’s a lot right they know what they’re doing but when we do do the avian marching and turn Collins we do mark our nest so you can see what you can hear this is the least tern nest market of the stake as at least tern egg right there when you can see the footprints right and you get to see each day footprint footprint footprint and they discussed zero reproductive says that one year habitat enhancement do a lot of work at that providing technical assistance on what types of shrubs and things to plant but also do some smaller plantings but some of our smaller prius and volunteers that we get do a lot of work with putting nesting platforms out such as osprey platforms nest boxes we work really closely with some of the scout groups Girl Scouts and Boy scripts they’re always looking for projects so what we’ll typically do is work with them and in the late fall they’ll come to our office and we’ll start building boxes and then at the end of the school year they get to come out and put them in down into the marsh another program that we work with is developing called brush piles into the marshes and the high areas of the marsh and we’ve worked with Easton Public Works they’ll drop off Christmas trees to us and actually we just got a bunch dropped off last week so we create these small brush piles in the high marshy areas and provides cover for Black Duck get a lot of passerines using them a lot of small mammals white-footed mice meadow voles and things like that oh you know hope resources on the Raptors and stuff that we have there I don’t know if any of you do you know Eileen so bag with everybody here from do i this is i Lisa Beck’s mom she was yet she was I guess acting assistant secretary of Fish and Wildlife and we do a lot of work with volunteers and she was helping us paint our decoys that we had to make for the for the turn colonies one of the big issues for the site is that because it’s an active construction site and it’s a lot of material being moved around the island we need to keep the turns out of where they’re ethically putting sand and that’s been a challenge but we’ve been pretty successful with relocating and what we do is we use decoys and we use call boxes and we’ve been highly successful attracting birds to an area where they’re at minimum they’re not gonna be disturbed and still allow for construction activities to go on because anything when it comes with marine contractors it’s that’s an expensive endeavor for sure so as of 2018 we have we used 51 volunteers last year and which amounted to over 1200 hours and if you see these guys on the bottom here then start out

the day that way but at the end of the day they’re pretty tired thank this young man right here he started with us when he was 8 years old he’s now going to the high school he’s it’s been a pretty dedicated volunteers it’s got a passion for wildlife and conservation know he’s got his you know school plan that’s gonna throw the Naval Academy and all that stuff so got a good plan Wildlife disease response is now the one big thing for us 2012 we had a big algal bloom and also coincided with navy and botulism event so obviously we got to make sure that you don’t have dead birds or sick Birds on the I get a lot of Tours out there so it made for a pretty busy summer I mean we’re out there for 15 weeks collecting sick and dead birds some of the diseases that have been documented out there avian botulism was by far probably the most numerous one two thousand twelve like I said that was a real big one for us but still wasn’t big compared when you look at the the events that occur out west we get sometimes millions of birds affected I think we had over a thousand Birds at that there’s a particular thing new doc disease salmonellosis is another one that I would think agen botulism and salmonellosis is are the two most common ones aspergillosis which is a fungal disease avian paramyxovirus that’s kind of an interesting one because this can who gets into a poultry house they can be devastating so we have to make sure and usually affects that cormorants hope we’ve never up it pretty close to the eastern shore it says a lot of poultry houses on the eastern shore so you have to make sure that we can we pick up any dead or sick Birds immediately because once it gets into a poultry house that whole flock has to be euthanized and that’s expensive we’ve had some cases of West Nile virus out there another interesting disease that we’re seeing and it seems that the Annapolis poplar on there is a hot spot for a disease called steer Titus now I’ll show you a little bit but it’s a disease where it’s made to oxidative stress we’re in captive animals animals that fed and diets high in fish polyunsaturated fats they have a hard time dealing with the lipid and it oxidizes in their system it forms these really hard fat deposits around the internal organs and they know it if you treat you can might be able to treat him with some antioxidants vitamin E and selenium like that but it’s not really that effective but interestingly we’ve been doing some work with blue-green algal toxins Santa toxins and we have found that it could be a relationship there too because the first that we found misty otitis majority also have documented exposure to some of these sites I had a toxins micro system specifically now this is this is just a shot showing this is Stiga teddy bird and you see this hard fat just in cases the organs the birds there’s no real rehabilitation for them the really lethargic and they typically have to be euthanized and this is a reference bird from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge you see the big difference like I said no 2012 we had a not even botulism event ongoing with an algal toxin event and we did sent some samples out and they they came back positive for both my persistence and botulism there’s some thought that algal blooms may trigger an avian botulism event it’s kind of an interesting disease so that he can botulism is a bacterial disease related disease and the spores can be found as more sediments and things like that so a lot of dabbling dogs they’re ingesting these sediments they can get into the tissues well the environmental conditions have to be perfect so you may get a few birds that die maybe you’ve associated with a toxin or event so they need anaerobic conditions to generate they need a protein source they also need warm conditions a dead carcass and sometimes perfect conditions that what happens is this is called a maggot cycle lymph eyes come in they’ll feed on the on the carcass and just the toxins those maggots now have the toxins other birds will feed on those maggots and the cycle perpetuates itself so it’s essential in class because maybe that scar because as you possibly can one another thing that we work on is wetland monitoring we look at

aerial coverage by species we use an adaptive management plan approach and there are targets where as the plants have to meet within five years like coverage is one of them looking at stem Heights and measuring species diversity and we compare those to reference some nearby reference sites this is a slide showing the marsh restoration progression in May before planting takes place and you can see through the seasons that’s a pretty good now one of the things we learned that you know we use an app depth of management approach they were fertilizing these plans with even put them in the ground well really need their sediments that are coming in are loaded with nutrients there’s no need to fertilize so we have spartina alterniflora that’s seven to eight feet tall and everything about that particular grass Judy doesn’t get that tall and if Eunice marshes play about this tall at the max the problem is it’s so much nutrients it’s all going into the buff ground biomass so the Canes falling down and you get some dead areas and you takes about two or three years before you get some pretty luxurious growth the nutrients start to diminish also same thing with a submerged aquatic vegetation monitoring we do that three times a year and then the warmer parts of the year and we get any some pretty good growth in the popular harbor which is where we’re trying to establish to know those suitable conditions for growth it’s not doing as well as our reference sites last year we had a really good year and the year before that was it was pretty profound how much SAV we were getting but the fact is we’re getting growth in there and only I expected probably get better as the time progresses and then that is it so I’ll take any questions you have and feel free I mean I look at my contact information if guys have some spare time want to come out to the site visit