Learn about the unique partnership between the many organizations which have worked together to make Masonville Cove a highly productive habitat and a valuable community resource.
Masonville was designated in 2007 as a placement site for sediment removed from the Baltimore shipping channels. With that designation came numerous benefits for the community, centering around restoring waterfront access in the previously polluted site. In order to accomplish these changes, the Port of Baltimore partnered with Living Classrooms Foundation and the National Aquarium to help engage the surrounding communities. Thus began the partnership of these organizations, which together with Maryland Environmental Service, continue to work to restore Masonville Cove for the benefit of local communities and wildlife.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service became an additional partner in 2013 when Masonville Cove was designated the nation's first Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership. Urban Wildlife Refuges are sites that are in close proximity to major metropolitan areas. Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships are urban refuges where "the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Community, and Partners come together to promote conservation."
Today the proof of Masonville Cove's success as a refuge partnership is in the numbers: the Cove is consistently named one of the top birding spots in the state, and provides rich education experiences for thousands of students and visitors.
At Masonville, federal organizations, state organizations, non-profits, and community groups have come together to restore an incredible piece of land for the benefit of local wildlife and the surrounding community.
The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) purchased the site to use a portion
of it to contain dredged material, or sediment removed from shipping channels. Placing the sediment at Masonville allows large ships to travel the deep channels to Baltimore safely, keeping the Port of Baltimore open for business. In return, MDOT MPA has worked tirelessly to restore the environment in the Cove and has worked closely with the surrounding community to provide a community resource, restoring safe waterfront access at Masonville Cove.
Living Classrooms Foundation manages the state-of-the-art environmental education facility at Masonville Cove, acting as a host to visitors and an educational outreach team to neighborhood schools. Living Classrooms Foundation offers field trips to groups of all ages and abilities, and uses hands-on education and a low teacher-to-student ratio to help make learning fun and impactful.
The National Aquarium works closely with community groups to arrange large-scale restoration efforts, giving community ownership to the restoration success of this beautiful waterfront site. Community members have come together through the National Aquarium to conduct shoreline debris clean-ups, wetland plantings, and neighborhood beautification projects.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provides wildlife management at Masonville Cove. As an integral partner in the Masonville Cove effort, USFWS helps to ensure the success of native wildlife, and responsible wildlife management practices, and provides assistance with on-site educational programs.
Maryland Environmental Service (MES) provides day-to-day oversight of the habitat restoration at Masonville, ensuring public safety and continual improvement of the native-plant-focused habitat. MES is contracted by MDOT MPA to carry out mitigation requirements on their behalf, including doing building maintenance and habitat monitoring.
A variety of community groups have worked closely with the Masonville Cove project partners to provide guidance and feedback regarding proposed projects designed to improve the area for public use. Integral groups include the Masonville Citizens Advisory Committee, the Greater Baybrook Alliance, and Baltimore Green Space. These partnerships help to maximize Masonville's impact as a valuable resource for the community.