OCEAN CITY — The federal Army Corps of Engineers this week began staging for a major maintenance dredging project for navigation channels in the Isle of Wight and Sinepuxent bays with hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of dredged material intended to be spread at various important ecological sites in and around the resort area.

The massive project is part of the Army Corps’ routine maintenance of the federal navigation channels throughout the resort area. The channels silt in over time through natural and man-made processes and need to be routinely dredged to a depth and width to support the area’s commercial and recreational fishing and boating industries.

The required dredging serves the dual purpose of maintaining the channels to appropriate depth and width while driving material to sand-starved migratory islands and beaches in and around the resort that serve an important ecological purpose and provide habitat for the many species of migratory birds that pass through the area.

The Army Corps of Engineers last week began staging for the latest major dredging project just north of the Route 50 Bridge and in and around the old Cropper Concrete plant. The large pipes that will carry the dredged material to its final homes were laid out in the bay just north of the bridge and heavy equipment is in place to begin the project.

The Isle of Wight Bay channel will be dredged from the Inlet to a point opposite 8th Street in Ocean City. The channel is authorized to a depth of six feet and a width of 125 feet from the Inlet to 8th Street and then a width of 75 feet into the Isle of Wight Bay. Roughly 18,000 cubic yards of material consisting largely of fine-grain sand will be hydraulically dredged from the channel and pumped on to the Dog and Bitch Islands near the Thorofare to increase and enhance migratory bird habitats on the island.

The Sinepuxent Bay channel will be dredged from the head of the commercial harbor in West Ocean City to Green Point, just north of South Point near Assateague. The Sinepuxent Bay channel will also be dredged to a depth of six feet and a width of 150 feet near the harbor to 100 feet further south to Green Point. Roughly 418,000 cubic yards of material will be hydraulically dredged and the dredge spoils will be deposited at four different locations in and around the coastal bays.

Section 1 contains approximately 245,000 cubic yards of dredged sand that will be placed in the vicinity of Robin’s Marsh. The roughly 55,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from Section 2 will be placed unconfined in the vicinity of an historic island near Green Point and will also be used to enhance and increase migratory bird habitat.

Roughly 57,000 cubic yards of sand and silt dredged from Section 3 will be placed on a historic but deteriorating island near Green Point and will also be used for migratory bird habitat. Finally, about 61,000 cubic yards of dredged sand and silt taken from Section 4 will be placed on the Inlet beach just north of Inlet jetty for use by the town of Ocean City.

The project will be managed and fully funded at 100 percent by the Army Corps because they are federal channels. Roughly $6 million was allocated for the project from the federal Disaster Relief Appropriation Act of 2013.