News and Updates

Update: December 31, 2022
Smith Island Cake Marker

See the Press Release for a Historical Marker for the Smith Island Cake.
A sincere thank you to Lisa Challenger of the Beach to Bay Heritage Area and Steve Bodnar of the William G Pomeroy Foundation.

Eddie Somers

Update: December 8, 2022
Giving Tuesday - New Sewer Plant Funding

Giving Tuesday- Thanks to all who donated to Smith Island United thru the Giving Tuesday event we raised almost $1,500. This will help with our one major expense which is insurance. Again Thanks!

 New Sewer Plant Funding-

 BALTIMORE (Dec. 7,  2022) – The Maryland Board of Public Works in Annapolis approved more than $12 million in funding today to replace a deteriorating wastewater treatment plant on Smith Island with a facility featuring advanced technology. The board is composed of Governor Larry Hogan, Treasurer Dereck E. Davis and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

“Smith Island is an integral part of Maryland’s history, culture and Chesapeake Bay heritage,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Horacio Tablada. “The deteriorated condition of the existing wastewater system on Smith Island must be addressed to protect public health and the Chesapeake Bay. This project will be built following Coast Smart Program resiliency guidelines to reduce climate change risks.”

The following project was approved today:

Smith Island Clean Water Project – Somerset County

Grants and loans totaling $12,491,604 – a $1.6 million Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan, a $2 million grant in the form of loan forgiveness of a Water Quality State Revolving Loan Fund loan and an $8,891,604 Bay Restoration Fund grant – to the Somerset County Sanitary District will help fund the planning, design and construction of a new Biological Nutrient Removal/Enhanced Nutrient Removal (BNR/ENR) wastewater treatment plant to replace the existing Ewell wastewater treatment plant, which is more than 40 years old and in a deteriorated condition. The multi-phase project also includes an upgrade of the wastewater collection and conveyance system, the decommissioning of the existing Tylerton wastewater treatment plant, an overhaul of three existing pumping stations, and the construction of a new sanitary force main for the conveyance of wastewater from Tylerton to the new Ewell plant. This action pertains to the construction of the replaced plant. The upgrade will lead to an 83 percent reduction in nitrogen discharged and a 90 percent reduction in phosphorus discharged to the Frances Gut and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Excessive amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus lead to lowered levels of oxygen needed to support aquatic life in waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay. Enhanced Nutrient Removal upgrades of wastewater treatment plants are a critical component of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay restoration plan. This project will be constructed in accordance with coastal and non-coastal resiliency guidelines developed as part of the Coast Smart Program to reduce climate change risks to such projects.

Smith Island United


Update: November 24, 2022
Final Tornado Donation Fund Total and Distribution

As most of you are aware, this past August Smith Island homes and businesses suffered considerable damage from a tornado. Thru Jay Fleming’s GoFundMe page and directly to Smith Island United our organization received a total of $212,752.83 in donations. Out of this total we incurred $3,311.00 in expenses (mostly for cleanup expenses- food and transportation for volunteers). We had zero admin fees. We setup the Smith Island United Tornado Relief Committee consisting of 7 volunteers. This committee made the decisions to distribute $209,441.72 directly to the victims of the tornado. They did this in 4 phases in the following order- Uninsured, Deductibles, Lost Wages, and last Insured. These distributions went to 18 businesses, 19 households, and 2 organizations.

We want our donors to know that none of the tornado donations went into our operating funds. Our operating funds go towards making improvements to the Island’s three communities. A couple examples would be the $100,000 in home improvement grants and especially the new roads that are now under construction. Therefore we, again this year, need your support to continue our work. We do all of this with volunteers, NO PAID STAFF, NO VOLUNTEER TRAVEL EXPENSE, ETC., so please will you consider donating to Smith Island United this Giving Tuesday? You can follow this link to the Giving Tuesday donation for Smith Island United  Thank you.
     Smith Island United Executive Committee

November 18, 2022
  USDA Housing Rehab Application - Revised 11/18/2022
Click here to read and save to your computer (pdf version). Print it, fill out the form, then mail the signed Application. Click here for MS Word version.

Smith Island United Committee For Tornado Relief - Meeting Minutes
     August 12, 2022 Meeting     August 23, 2022 Meeting


Update: November 8, 2022
Tornado Relief

Yesterday, November 7, the Smith Island United Tornado Relief Committee finalized the last round of disbursements. 100% of these funds have gone towards tornado relief with no administrative cost incurred. The work of a Committee in a process such as this in a small community is not an easy task because of the closeness of all involved. We have tried to do our best to help everyone that was affected by the tornado in a fair and honest way. Most importantly we want to thank all of the organizations, churches, and people who made this work possible by your very generous donations. A special thank you to Jay Fleming for starting the process with his gofundme page. Those that donated directly to Smith Island United have or will be getting a thank you note. GoFundMe does not release addresses so for those of you that donated thru Jay’s page please know that we are very grateful for your support. Without all of these generous donations our Island Community would have taken a very hard hit.

Update: October 15, 2022
Tornado Relief - Sewer Plant Update

    The Committee for Tornado Relief issued the second round of checks to tornado victims this past week. The committee decided and voted unanimously to issue funds based on the applications submitted. This brings the approximate amount dispersed to date issue to the victims of the tornado at $100,005. We appreciate everyone's patience as we continue this process.


    Officials announced on Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a $1,611,000 grant for the Smith Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Project.
    We’re told this grant funding will be used to provide an enhanced nutrient system for the entire island by replacing all the degraded equipment with updated, more efficient, and clean equipment. Funding for this project will also be used to eliminate unsanitary sewer discharges into the Tangier Sound and the Chesapeake Bay.
    The completion of this project will benefit both the environment and the population of Smith Island, as it will increase climate and coastal resiliency and increase the assurance of access to sanitary sewer services for island residents and businesses.

Congressman Andy Harris and Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen released the following statement:
    “This is a sizable investment in modernizing Smith Island’s wastewater infrastructure. Newer and more efficient sanitation equipment will protect the public health of the Island residents while keeping pollution out of the Chesapeake Bay. As the last remaining offshore inhabited island in Maryland, Smith Island has deep cultural roots on the Eastern Shore and this grant money will ensure that all residents and businesses have access to the clean water they deserve.”

Eddie Somers
President, Smith Island United www.smithislandunited


Update: September 29, 2022
Tornado Relief - Road Repairs

Tornado Relief- The Tornado Relief Committee has issued checks to the un-insured totaling approximately $40,000 which takes care of 40%-50% of the claims. The Committee is waiting on insurance settlement papers from the insured. Once we have those we will start issuing checks for copays. Hopefully we can take care of this within the next couple of weeks. 

Road Work- Received this from Somerset County Roads Director Woody Barnes-

Good Morning Eddie ,

As follow up to our conversation yesterday below is a brief recap of the of the course of events that led up to the Commissioners approval at Tuesday’s meeting.  

On September 6, 2022, at the regularly scheduled Somerset County Roads Board the bids for the Smith Island Roads project were opened and read aloud. At that time there were two qualifying bids, that were taken by the Roads Director (me) to be reviewed and consider for recommendation. During the review it was determined that both contractors had adequately addressed the proposed scope of work and both were more than qualified to complete the project. DSM Properties, LLC of Randallstown, MD was/is the low bidder, submitting a bid of $1,870,962.00, which was $620,962 over the FY2023 budgeted amount of $1,250,000 of which we had received a $1,000,000 from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). Thanks to the vision and assistance from members of Smith Island United.  

Recognizing the $620,000 short fall a team consisting of the Roads Director, Parks/Recs & Tourism Director Mr. Clint Sterling and County Finance Director Mr Gene Adkins meet with representatives from the EDA  to discuss the possibility of obtaining additional grant funds, and while there is a chance that the county could receive additional funding through a formal request, there was no guarantee and this process was found to be very lengthy. Understanding the crucial timing constraints of the grant funds previously awarded (Expiring in May 2023) the county team of Mr. Sterling, Mr Adkins and myself  didn’t feel we could afford to wait for the EDA determination, and felt the best approach was to request additional funding from the County.   

Therefore; on Tuesday September 27, 2022 the Somerset County Commissioners held a special session Roads Board meeting where we made the recommendation to the Commissioners to consider funding the proposed shortfall and awarding the contract to DSM Properties, LLC, without deviation from the original scope work, as I feel that the proposed work addresses the current conditions of daily tide influences and deteriorating roads with emphasizes made for potential rising sea levels in the future. Based on this information and the recommendation of Commissioner Randy Laird , seconded by Commissioner Charles Laird the Somerset County Commissioners unanimously awarded the additional funds and contract to the apparent low bidder, without hesitation.  

We are excited to get work on this project, and have already begun to do so. Following Tuesday’s approval I met with the contractor and they have already begun work, submitting material products and specifications for our approval and working on a logistic plan (material/equipment mobilization)  that they plan to present at our Pre Construction Meeting to be held the week of October 10, 2022.  

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or thoughts.  

Woody Barnes

Eddie Somers
President, Smith Island United


Update: September 16, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

On Wednesday, September 14th, the Smith Island United Committee for Tornado Relief met to discuss the first round of the issuance of checks to the uninsured tornado damage claimants. The committee decided and voted unanimously to issue funds based on the applications submitted for most of the uninsured. There were a couple of applications that the committee needed to clarify some of the information on the form. Those people will be contacted to get the needed information. These first round of checks will total approximately $34,000 that will take care of approximately 50% of claims submitted. The funds will be dispersed within the next 10 days. This leaves 13 claimants that have insurance. Most of the insured claimants had significant damage with some being totally destroyed. The issuance of funds to these claimants will take time due to the process of getting the proper information from the insurance companies. This information will be used to base the appropriate amount of funds issued to the claimants. We thank you for your patience.

Eddie Somers

President, Smith Island United


August 25, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

The Smith Island United Executive Committee voted today to waive the requirement for an independant approval for small claims (small claims are defined as $5,000 and under).

 As of yesterday afternoon the total amount donated to Smith Island United for tornado relief is $63,036. Thank you all until a more appropriate thanks comes. The Smith Island United Committee for Tornado Relief met on Tuesday. We will be posting the minutes from that meeting very soon. The committee will also be having a phone conference shortly. Please be patient and know that we are working to get our procedures for dispersing funds.

Here are some of the things decided so far-

1. 100% of the funds will ONLY be used for claims arising from the Tornado

2. All of the claims has been submitted to us in writing

3. Claims WITH insurance will be addressed AFTER claim has been closed. (this could be closed with or without payment) this is to ENSURE we are not double paying a claim

4. Food claims were capped at $250.00 like insurance companies would do

5. Business Loss and loss of wages will be moved to the bottom until the personal needs are met or fulfilled

6. First checks will be dispersed up to $5000 for first round of checks (first round included, food, medicine, certain damages, some business losses ( crabpots etc)

7. We are consulting with different organizations on how to disperse the checks fairly and equitably. (Church groups, accountants etc)

Eddie Somers


August 20, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022
We want all the church goups, foundations, individuals, kids, businesses, and fellow Islanders to know how much your donations directly to Smith Island United and to Jay's go fund me page have touched our hearts. As of this afternoon donations made directly to Smith Island United are at approximately $38,000.


August 19, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022
Officials from Somerset County Planning and Zoning will be coming over on Monday, August 22 to get an assessment of damages the tornado did to "HOMES". Only homes not sheds or other items. This is important for their report to the state and federal government. They want to be certain that they do not miss any home that was damaged no matter how small. They are going to need property owners permission to look at damage. If you are a homeowner or a representative of a home owner please contact Eddie at 443 614 1903 or today with your name, address, and phone number so I can pass it on to them.

August 18, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

A special thanks to Somerset County Roads for completing the debris removal that had been gathered by volunteers from Cutting Crew Lawn Care, Oak Ridge Baptists Church, Christ United Methodist Church, and Island Volunteers. 


August 17, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022
Smith Island United Committee For Tornado Relief
  - Minutes of the 1st Meeting of the Initial Assessment August 12, 2022
                Read .pdf version      Read Word .docx Version

August 15, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

This is just an FYI- the county is in constant contact with us. Their trucks will be coming Monday, weather permitting and will be taking care of the pile of debris. Thanks to them.

On Saturday the Smith Island United Committee for Tornado Relief had it's first meeting (this is the 7 person committee). We will be getting an overview of the meeting out as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience.

Tornado clean-up update
I am sorry for the delay in the clean up process. We have been working around the clock to secure and organize all the amazing volunteers that have offered their time , skills, equipment and manpower to graciously help Smith Island recover from this devastating event. We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we worked through logistics, scheduling and  organizing
The clean-up process.
Eddie Somers has put in countless hours to put us in contact with these amazing groups. We are so extremely grateful for Cutting Crew Lawn Care they really made a huge difference and their time and work is priceless. I know that we are all anxious to see some more progress and try to regain some normalcy and move forward. There will be a lot going on this week here on the Island . Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns or to discuss your needs. Tomorrow, Monday August 15th We have two groups of volunteer crews coming over We have Jeff Finney and Darryl Webster from Christ United Methodist Church in Salisbury, they have graciously offered to come on stay on Island for a couple of days and longer if needed. We also have Gary McCabe from Oakridge Baptist Church in Salisbury coming with a crew and also have graciously offered to come back as/if needed. County trucks will also be arriving tomorrow (weather permitting) to start the process of removing these debris piles
A huge thank you in advance to Somerset County and all of these extremely generous volunteers . Smith Island greatly appreciates you all.

August 12, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

Earlier this week Janet Tyler EMS Captain, Pastor Everett Landon, and Eddie Somers Smith Island United met to update each other on progress being made. The first several days the Ewell Vol Fire Dept led the tornado relief efforts and have been working, and this is an understatement, hard. I think most of you know that, but it needs to be said they have done an outstanding job. At this meeting all three of us agreed that we are now at the point in this effort for Smith Island United to start leading the efforts to coordinate the cleanup. There was a group that had scheduled to bring 20 volunteers today that did not work out. This has caused a delay and we are now working to schedule a crew from Christ United Methodist Church to come as soon as details are worked out (most of you know Jeff Finney and Darryl Webster who have doing volunteer work on the Island for years it is their group). We have other groups that are on standby, and we will have a better feel when Jeff’s group comes as to whether we need more help with debris removal. Thanks to Cindy for the help with this.

There have been media reports that other groups are taking the lead in this effort. Some of these groups have not been able to get the help needed to come over on the island (my delay comment above). I feel the need to make it clear that Smith Island United now and in the foreseeable future is better equipped, better at understanding and coordinating the logistics, and with the diverse membership we have which includes CPAs, attorneys, bankers, etc. and lots of hard-working people will be able to lead this effort. Our membership is also smart enough and our egos small enough to know when and if we reach a point that we cannot lead this effort we will ask for help in leading. That is not to say that we do not want the groups that have been reaching out to us to stop that contact. We do need help but not at the leadership level.

Contact Information:
Eddie Somers Smith Island United  / 443-614-1903

If you cannot reach Eddie, call Janet Tyler, EMS  443,235,3992

August 11, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

   Last night, August 10, 2022, the Smith Island United Executive Committee met via phone conference along with one member of our Advisory Board, Mark Nelson CPA. This meeting has laid the groundwork for how Smith Island United (SIU) will handle the Tornado Disaster Relief Fund that has been very generously created by Jay Fleming’s go fund me page and by people and organizations donating directly to SIU. We voted on four things, and they are-
1.    We will hire an accountant firm to manage the fund.
2.    We will find an independent person or entity who will make the decision regarding the approval of a claim and the amount the person or business filing the claim will receive.
    3.    Invoices and any other paperwork relating to the dispersal of funds will be required before SIU will reimburse a property owner for damage. One example of this is that any construction related materials will be purchased thru a local home center where we will have an account set up. The contractor or group that are doing the work will place the order designating the order by the name of the property owner and our accountant will pay the vendor. INVOICES AND PROPER PAPERWORK WILL BE REQUIRED. SMITH ISLAND UNITED IS IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOOSING THE CONTRACTOR OR GROUP THAT WILL DO REPAIRS. THAT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PROPERTY OWNER.
4.    We voted to approve the 7-person committee (Eddie Somers SIU, Pastor Everett Landon, Janet Tyler EMS Capt, Duke Marshal Marshall’s Ins. Co., Scott Andreozzi community member, John Tyler community member, and Jay Fleming adopted community member ??). This committee will work for and take direction from the SIU Executive Committee and has been tasked with two jobs. They will set the guidelines for prioritization (for lack of a better term the pecking order of importance of needs by property owner) of the claims and will then receive and present the applications to the SIU Executive Committee. The executive committee will then vote to approve the application and present it to the independent person or entity who will make the final decision.
Smith Island United will be happy to talk or work with any volunteer groups that want to help with the recovery effort. We will not be tied to any one group or organization that wants to help. We will work will all groups and agencies. 
Regarding the donations we are receiving we have two main responsibilities. They are that we are responsible for helping property owners and we are responsible to the people and groups that have very generously donated money.

August 7, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022
Smith Island United has formed a committee that will be working towards dispersing monetary donations that we receive for tornado related damage. The seven person committee is Janet Tyler-EMS Captain, Pastor Everett Landon, Eddie Somers-Smith Island United, Johnny Crantz Tyler, Scott Andreozzi, Duke Marshall, and Jay Fleming. A form will need to be filled out by those who have been impacted by the tornado. The form will be available Tuesday and will be used to help Smith Island United disperse the funds and to help with cleanup efforts. Please note, this is not an insurance claim form. Pastor Everett Landon will be overseeing this process and can be reached at 410-968-3517 or text at 443-783-2079.

Wednesday, Cutting Crew Lawn Care, who have donated their time, will be coming for cleanup and debris removal. They will be bringing chain saws and other similar hand tools. Please see Cindy or Scott Andreozzi to let them know your tornado damage needs and to give them permission to go on your property. Please try to have you or someone representing you there while they work to make sure nothing gets accidently thrown away. Have the crews make piles by the road. The county trucks will be coming to take care of the piles.

Eddie Somers will be meeting with Somerset County Officials sometime tomorrow morning, 8/8/22, regarding cleanup, and other tornado damage related items.


Anyone who wants to make monetary donations there are a couple of ways to do that-

1.Jay Flemings Smith Island Tornado Damage Recovery and Cleanup at:

2. Smith Island United Website and follow instructions at the top of this page, or click:

3. By mail:  Smith Island United    PO Box40    Ewell, MD 21824


- News Videos from WBOC TV  1.-  Possible Tornado Touches Down on Smith Island: Homes Damaged | Latest News |

August 6, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022

As far as we can tell if you have property and have not been contacted then you did not have damage. The major cleanups are on hold waiting for insurance adjusters to get here. We have plenty of water and food. Thanks to the Fire Dept response and as usual they did and are doing a fantastic job! A very special thank you to the response from A&N Electrical. Their crews started arriving the evening of the storm with crews working thru the night to get power on where they could (by the next morning they had power restored to everywhere except below the bridge on Rhodes Pt and a couple of homes on Ewell) and keeping us safe. By early afternoon they had trucks and poles on the Island. Power will most likely be restored to all by this afternoon. Thanks to Jay Fleming for setting up the go fund me page and to all who have donated.

August 5, 2022
Tornado - Rhodes Point - 8/4/2022
Thanks to all that are offering help for the Island. To state and federal people and agencies that need to contact someone to offer assistance please call Eddie Evans, Fire Chief, at 410 251 1635. The Fire Dept is leading this. When things get more settled the fire dept will get a list of damaged property so those of you that are part timers will be able to see if you have damage. We do not know how long this will take but will post it as soon as we get it.
- News Video from WBOC TV -  Possible Tornado Touches Down on Smith Island: Homes Damaged | Latest News |

July 22,2022
The Legacy of a Vanished Island Landscape: The Story of Sharps Island, Maryland

Presented by Darrin L. Lowery, Ph.D.  2021  View Presentation Slides (PDF)
On pages 54-57 he uses a site on Smith Island to show how the past projections of sea levels rising is wrong

July 22, 2022
Salt Pond Sea Level Data Presentation by Darrin Lowery

Presented October 3, 2019  View Presentation Slides (PDF)

July 7, 2022
Smith Island Home Improvement Grant

Smith Island United has been awarded a home improvement grant through USDA. This is a low-income grant. The income limits are listed in the grant application along with types of projects. If you have any questions regarding the grant or application, contact Valerie Mann at or by phone at 410-726-8303. Please submit the completed application to Valerie Mann at
The application can be downloaded here:

     Application – PDF version   or   Application – MS Word Document version

For information about contractors that are willing and approved to do the work under this grant, contact Kim Hopkins at the Eastern Shore Long Term Recovery Committee at 340-643-7516 or

June 2022
Smith Island  Waterman's Glass Float Hunt
We have a fun activity planned for this summer on Smith Island. Fisherman Float Hunt.
Click here for all the details

September 22, 2021
Message from SIU President, Eddie Somers:
We have been told we should start letting the general public know what we all have accomplished and some of the things that have been done since we first organized back in, I think, 2012. Our 501C status came a couple of years later. Here is a list of projects that have been funded since then. We thank Somerset County for the support, the many State of Maryland agencies that have funded projects, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Beach to Bay Heritage Area, Chesapeake Bay Trust, The Coastal Association of REALTORS®, and the many federal agencies, especially the federal people at the Martin National Wildlife Refuge and Army Corps for what seems to have started the ball rolling. The list below is some of the major projects that have benefited Smith Island.

     Rhodes Pt. Shoreline Stabilization - $4,496,400
     Rhodes Pt. County Dock - $559,949
     Rhodes Pt. Jetty - $250,000

     Drainage Study - $50,000
     SI Vision Plan - $89,241 
     Martin Wildlife Shoreline $8,400,000
     Sewer Plant- $9,200,000
     Thorofare Dredging
     Tylerton Boat Ramp
     Ewell County Dock repairs
     Façade Improvement Grants- $25,000
     Forever Maryland Cleanup Grants- $9,500 (we just received the second grant from here for $4,500)
     Drainage Study Implementation- $300,000
     Smith Island Park Improvements - $5,000
     Smith Island Overview Deck- $100,000 (permit process)
     Two Captains License Courses- $12,000

These below were not funded thru SIU but were a direct result of being influenced by the Smith Island Vision Plan
     Restoration of 111 ft of Rukes dock at Ewell
     Restoration of NW Basin slips at Ewell

     USDA Rural Housing Preservation Grant $50,000