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UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory to rebuild historic research pier

Solomons, Md. (September 22, 2010) The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory $1.7 million to repair and rebuild its historic 750-foot research pier on Solomons Island. Since 1936, the pier has played an instrumental role in the research conducted at the laboratory, collecting data on climate change, fisheries management and the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

"Rebuilding the research pier is critical to the Laboratory being able to continue its cutting-edge environmental research," said Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) Director Dr. Margaret Palmer. "This award is in recognition of the importance of the work taking place in Solomons. Long-term environmental monitoring like that done from CBL's pier for the last 70 years is extremely rare but essential to forecasting future changes in the Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic region."

The research award allows UMCES to make critical repairs to the pier, including extensive replacement of the support structure, decking and pumping station, as well as securing the seawater intake lines to protect them from future storm threats.

"The pier's large experimental tanks are critical to conducting research on how best to restore fisheries and its historic location provides needed access to graduate students and local teachers seeking to learn more about the Patuxent River," added Dr. Palmer.

The current research pier sustained major structural damage as a result of several recent storms, including Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2006. Damage was so severe that closing the pier to research and educational activities was required.

Funding for the pier reconstruction project was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the National Science Foundation's competitive Academic Research Infrastructure Program: Recovery and Reinvestment. Including this award, UMCES has received more than $3.3 million in stimulus funding.


Contact: Christopher Conner
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

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