Port of Baltimore
At a Glance
Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
Aaryaman Singhal developed a method to estimate greenhouse gases at the Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project and recommended next steps to increase the accuracy of the estimates and inform future restoration project design for MDOT MPA.
Maintaining the shipping channels in the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore Harbor, and the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal is conducted every year by Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) with help from their partners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nearly 5 million cubic yards of sediment are dredged from these channels and anchorages just to maintain their current depths and widths. For the past several decades, the sediment has been used to restore eroded islands in the Chesapeake Bay in ways that develop wildlife habitats.
Poplar Island is an international model for the beneficial use of dredged material to restore remote island habitat, with the potential to mitigate the effects of sea-level rise. These restored islands may also act as a carbon sink. The MDOT MPA enlisted Aaryaman “Sunny” Singhal to study the potential for carbon sequestration at Poplar Island, building off an earlier effort to assess carbon sequestration potential at Hart-Miller Island in 2019.
Singhal focused on updating the underlying methodology and improving estimates for assessing carbon sequestration. He developed greenhouse gas (GHG) estimates for Poplar Island’s different land-use types (low marsh, high marsh, and upland forests) using site-specific and reference data from the nearby region. Singhal also developed and communicated a stronger understanding of key uncertainties in the GHG estimates, especially due to methane fluxes.
Singhal used the updated methodology to calculate ranges of possible GHG estimates for Poplar Island, identify data needed to reduce uncertainties in the future, and make recommendations to incorporate available information into planning for future projects.
Singhal’s work is a key step in restoring wetlands in ways to maximize a wide array of benefits like ecosystem health, coastal adaptation, recreation, and climate change mitigation. His updated methodology also provides a framework and starting point for future, more in-depth sequestration analyses. Singhal’s findings provide MDOT MPA with actionable information to consider GHG estimates when making design choices for wetland restoration projects.