DOI / VISTA Team Projects

Masonville Cove

Supervisor: Brad Knudsen
Address: Patuxent Research Refuge, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, Maryland 20708
County: Guanica and Cabo Rojo Counties
Voice Telephone: 301-497-5582
Web site:
Congressional District: 4
Bureau: Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)


A thriving community once flourished at Masonville Cove. However, railroad tracks were built in the mid-1900s preventing access to the river and Baltimore Harbor; the area was eventually abandoned.  To mitigate impacts from construction of the Masonville Dredge Material Containment Facility by the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), the local community has been working with MPA and multiple partners to implement a plan with three core elements: to restore Masonville Cove; to establish an environmental education facility at the site (opened in 2009); and to secure seed funding for environmental education. 

About the Surrounding Community

This community has an unemployment rate of 44%, is predominantly African American, and has been cut off from the river and its recreational amenities by an interstate highway and multiple railroad tracks. The local communities of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay, which are adjacent to Masonville Cove, are challenged by high income inequality, concentrated poverty, limited public transportation, high crime, and low high school graduation rates. There is a tremendous need to engage local schools (there are roughly 13 schools within a five mile radius) and youth, therefore introducing them to new employment opportunities in the fields of environmental science, recreation, and restoration. 

Project Overview

The DOI/VISTA is engaging the local schools and youth by introducing them to new employment opportunities in the fields of environmental science, recreation, and restoration. Currently, youth and residents are cut off from Masonville Cove, a tremendous asset in their local community-- one that will open doors to new employment prospects, academic areas of study, and mentoring opportunities. The communities the DOI/VISTA volunteer serves are learning more about how the outdoors can contribute to their health, well-being, and enrich them physically and mentally. Urban youth is also learning of career paths within the government and conservation organizations, and hopefully be inspired to pursue a higher education.

Sponsors and Partners

For more information please visit: