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UPDATES: Lower Wicomico River Maintenance Dredging Project

While DIPP is not a sponsor of the project, we are doing our best to use our network to stay up-to-date on the project and communicate that information. We will keep this page up-to-date, with the latest news on the Maintenance Dredging Projects and the impacts you will see.

Updated on 1/26/2024

Starting Wednesday January 31st expect to see increased construction traffic as crews work to remove the pieces of dredge pipeline that remain on site.


  • The contractor will be using the grassy fields behind the Wildlife Management Area gate at the Dames Quarter Farm complex.

  • They will begin transporting the pipes from the Dames Quarter Creek - Rt. 363 area starting Wednesday, January 31st.

  • You can expect to see tractor trailers backing off of Deal Island Road onto the farm lane for loading.

  • You may see cautionary signage along the roadways to alert motorists about trucks entering and exiting the roadway.


It is expected to take two to three weeks to remove the pipeline.


Drone photos taken in December 2023 and January 2024

January 2024

Thank you to Chris Snow from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Maryland DNR for taking these photos and videos and sharing them. 

You can use the arrows to the left and right to navigate through the slide show.

Click on the image to see it bigger.

Wicomico River Dredge Project Field Trip - December 2023

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You can use the arrows to the left and right to navigate through the slide show.

Click on the image to see it bigger.

Update on 11/9/2023


Riley Roberts Road and parking lot will reopen for public access on Saturday 11/11/2023. 

Update on 10/16/2023

Dredging has started as of this morning, Monday October 16th. We wanted to share a few updates on how this will impact visitors and residents in the area.


  • Riley Roberts Road extended will be closed from from October 15th through November 10th, at a point south of the "shell pile" parking lot. This location was chosen so that unaware motorists pulling a boat trailer would be able to turn around in the parking area without getting hung up in the marsh. 


  • General visitors and early season duck hunters will have uninterrupted access to the WMA and the marshes east of Chance from this parking lot. 


  • Impoundment waterfowl hunting permit holders for Saturday, October 21st, should use the north lot ramp off Game Reserve Road for all boat / trailer access into the impoundment on that day. 


  • Fishermen wishing to use the Big Sound Creek ramp for access to the Manokin River should use other local ramps in the area until the south parking lot can be reopened. 


An updated notice has been placed on the WHS Deal Island WMA webpage which you can find here:


Update 10/6/2023

Pre-construction work at the site is in the final stages. The contractor is presently working to finish repair of the hay bales along the edge of the marsh. The contractors are likely to be out there all next week trying to get those finished before the start of dredging.


The dredging window opens on October 15th. We are still waiting on more details regarding what impacts you might expect to experience during the dredging window which will run to February. We will follow up when we hear more.


Update 9/5/2023

The conduit installation originally scheduled for June was delayed for much of the summer (see 5/26 update below for more details). That process has resumed and work mats were installed on Tuesday (9/5). The next step will be installation of super fine silt fencing.


Earlier in August, the contractor visited the work site at the end Riley Roberts Road to assess the hay bales and ditch plugs that were installed in the Spring. He noted that it looks like the hay bales are being used as walkways which will require them to be replaced before the start of dredging. You may notice signs going up that ask visitors not to walk on the hay bales. 

As a reminder of the timeline for this project: the window where the contractor is allowed to dredge begins in mid-October and runs through February. There is no word yet, on whether or not the summer delays will impact the start of dredging, originally planned for mid-October.


Update 5/26/2023

The next phase of the Beneficial Use project at the Deal Island WMA is to install conduit for the dredge pipeline to pass under Rt. 363. This construction will begin after June 15th. 


What can you expect?

  • Heavy equipment and construction crews on site

  • Potential brief delays in traffic when construction vehicles are moving onto the road


The contractor will use the “jack and bore” method to install a 48” diameter steel casing below Deal Island Road/ MD Rt 363 just east of the Messix Road intersection. Once the casing pipe is installed, a 30” diameter reinforced concrete carrier pipe will be installed within the casing pipe. To install the casing and carrier pipes, the contractor will have to excavate a sizeable boring pit south of the roadway, and a smaller receiving pit north of the roadway, to accommodate the machinery and materials needed to install the conduit pipes.  After construction activities have been completed, the casing pipe is to be sealed, the marshes are to be restored to elevation, and eventually planted with appropriate marsh plants during the next growing season.   


During active dredging operations, the dredging contractor will install a section of the plastic dredge pipeline coming from Dames Quarter Creek through the carrier pipe under the roadway to carry the materials farther south to the deposition areas.  After the dredging project is completed, the plastic dredge pipeline will be removed. 


See “Culvert Placement” project plans for more details, or contact Brian Wilkins, Engineer, Wicomico County Department of Public Works at (410) 548-4927.


Update 5/16/2023

Effective Friday, May 19, 2023, the section of Riley Roberts Road (extended) where it enters the Deal Island WMA will be reopened to vehicle traffic without weekday restrictions. Visitors to the WMA should exercise caution to avoid the dredging pipe staged along the road margin and in the borrow ditch along Riley Roberts Road extended.  Construction activities in the area of our South parking lot / Broad Creek boat ramp will be winding down during the week of May 15th until anticipated to resume in early to mid-September. 


Updated 5/1/2023

Riley Roberts Road has been closed for much of April and is scheduled to reopen in the next couple of weeks. The exact date is unknown. The contractor needs to finish unloading and placing 500 foot sections of pipe along the road.


The straw bale containment and ditch plug construction wrapped up at the end of April. The straw bale containment and ditch plugs will remain in place through the summer. The contractor will assess the containment in late August and complete any repairs needed prior to sediment placement which will begin in October 2023.


Planting of the site will occur in either 2024 or 2025 depending on the firmness of the dredge materials.


For the most current information regarding project progress and facilities restrictions through the course of the project, please visit the Deal Island WMA webpage at:


For more specific questions, please contact the Wellington WMA office at (410) 651-2065, or John Moulis, Eastern Regional Manager, at (410) 827-8612, x105.

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