Bishopville Pond Work To Begin In September

BISHOPVILLE – Work on the Bishopville Pond and Lizard Hill
borrow pit environmental restoration project should begin in September.

Sandy Coyman, director of Comprehensive Planning for
Worcester County, said if all goes well, work could be completed by early
spring 2008.

“We’ve been working on this for the four and a half years
I’ve been a commissioner,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

Commissioner Linda Busick, who represents Bishopville’s
district, said she remembers that “doing something” about the Bishopville pond
was under discussion at least eight years ago.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Busick. “It’s been
years in the making.”

However, Coyman explained while there hasn’t appeared to
be much going on with the project, there has been much going on behind the
scenes. “While we’ve been quiet, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy,” he
said.

The Army Corps of Engineers will do the work, but the
effort is a collaboration between the Corps, the county, the State Highway
Administration, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Maryland
Coastal Bays Program (MCBP).

“When you work with the Corps of Engineers, it’s a cast of
thousands,” said Coyman.

The county already meets the financial match requirements
of the project, which should cost $2.8 million.

“Things are going to be moving fairly quickly now,” said
Roman Jessien of MCBP.

Coyman said the details of the project were the reason for
the apparent delay. “It’s really quite a complex project,” Coyman said.

The dam at Bishopville Pond will be modified to create a
channel to improve water flow, which will 
allow fish such as white perch upstream to spawn. 

The Lizard Hill borrow pit will be transformed into
wetlands and a white cedar forest. Both aspects of the project should improve
water quality.

Although organisms do live in the pond, Jessien said the
dissolved oxygen content is low in the summer and there are too many nutrients
getting into the water.

The changes should also improve water quality to some
extent in the upper reaches of the St. Martin River, a seriously impaired
waterway.

The sediments of the pond do not contain any toxins,
according to tests. If any hazardous materials or toxins do turn up, the county
has the option to stop the project immediately, Coyman said.

 

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