Not so long ago, many islands rose above the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay near Virginia.
But these small islands, part of an estuary on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, began to vanish, thanks to the forces of geology according to NASA.
The very crust under Chesapeake Bay is sinking. Made of clay and silt, the islands erode quickly, and many have disappeared altogether.
But, thanks to the U.S. military, Poplar Island, is being reclaimed from the depths in a restoration project which has seen the island grow from just ten acres at its lowest, to more than 1,100 acres today.
Poplar Island offered a predator-free haven for nesting water birds and turtles, as well as other larger islands, which supported fishing communities along with wildlife.
In the 1800s, the island had an area just over 1,000 acres and held a small town of about 100 people.
By the 1990s, the island was nearly gone, containing a mere 10 acres of land.
In 1998, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began to restore Poplar Island. The project serves two purposes: it restores lost habitat to birds and turtles, and it provides a use for material dredged from Baltimore Harbor and Chesapeake Bay shipping lanes.
Engineers built dikes around sections of the island and have been gradually filling in the center with dredged silt. By 2006, the island had regained the shape it held in the 1800s.
As each cell is filled with new soil, the Army Corp of Engineers plants vegetation.
Poplar Island now has an area of 1,140 acres and may continue to expand by another 500 acres before the restoration is completed in 2027.
Upon completion, Poplar Island will be half wetlands and half uplands covered by forest. The restoration project is expected to cost $667 million, says the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Attribution: UK Daily Mail