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Shoreline Restoration Proposed for Dobbins Island

Shoreline restoration would curb the amount of sediment flowing into the Magothy River from the erosion occurring on Dobbins Island.

See below for an update to this post.

Dobbins Island is in the news again, however this time the issue concerns erosion control of the cliffs on the island rather than the ongoing dispute over usage rights for the beach on the island’s north shore.

David Clickner, the owner of Dobbins Island, has wanted to build a home there since he purchased the property in 2004, but before he builds a house, he wants to address the erosion of the island’s shoreline.

According to Polly Thornton’s article about the history of Dobbins Island in Maryland Life, the island was 13 1/2 acres when it was purchased in 1851 by George Dobbin, a prominent Baltimore judge. Only about seven acres of the island remain due to erosion that has occurred over time.

Tim Pratt reported in the Capital that the proposed erosion control project would add about an acre of land to the island, according to Wayne Newton of the engineering firm Messick and Associates. Newton states in the article that adding land to the island is “necessary to protect the existing property and to meet state and county erosion control standards, one of which requires the banks to be built at a 2:1 slope.” He goes on to say that controlling erosion of the island will help to reduce sediment pollution in the Magothy River.

However, Paul Spadaro, the president of the Magothy River Association, is concerned about proposed erosion control measures for Dobbins Island. In the Capital article, Spadaro states the proposal to control the shoreline erosion would not only enlarge the island, but also increase the value of the property which would benefit Clickner.

Currently, a public hearing concerning the proposed erosion control project is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 6 at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis.

Hopefully a solution that would benefit both parties can be reached as a result of the public hearing process.

Personally, I think the water quality of the Magothy River around Dobbins Island could be improved if the MRA would work with Clickner to implement a solution to stop the erosion of the island's shoreline.

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UPDATE (Jan. 18)—"I am not in favor of a revetment being used as part of the erosion control project, but could a living shoreline be incorporated in the plan instead of a revetment?" (John Dawson)

A public hearing for the proposed work is being held to gather information and hear testimony to assist the Department of Environment in making a determination regarding an application for a wetlands license.  Statements for or against this application may be presented orally at the hearing or in writing to the Maryland Department of the Environment, Tidal Wetlands Division, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland, 21230-1708, Attn: Jennifer Ottenberg, telephone No. (410) 537-3622. 

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 6, 2012 at the Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Pkwy., Annapolis.

For information, email Jennifer Ottenberg jottenberg@mde.state.md.us or call 410-537-3622.

What do you think is the solution? Place your comment below.

David McCollough email: Dave@CBRhomes.com January 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Let Clickner shore up his island. Improvements should made to improve value and/or to restore to original condition. Just look at the above ariel photo. The restoration does need to be done in a way that limits aquatic disturbance. As a local Realtor, I support ones personal property rights within the law.
Kristiane Kerley January 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Considering the fact that more than half of the island has vanished due to erosion, I fail to see why Mr. Clickner's proposal to shore up the cliffs to prevent further erosion would harm anyone else - it's the only thing that makes sense. And if it improves the Magothy's water quality, that would benefit everyone who enjoys the river or lives along its banks.
Maribeth Kalinich February 14, 2013 at 07:51 AM
Why would an "environmental" organization that has a link called "Friends of Dobbins Island" want to block efforts to conserve this island? Clickner spent a lot of money and time hiring approved engineers to assess the problem and come up with the appropriate solution. As far as a living shoreline, that is not possible because there is too much boat traffic around the island. The wake would just wash away the sand and the plants would die. I wish these environmental organizations would spend their money on solving the real problems of the Magothy.

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