Bayscape Planting Added To Beach Program

OCEAN CITY – The pilot program launched this spring to enhance the beach district will see another year of planting and will also see the addition of bayscape planting, after receiving unanimous approval from the Mayor and Council Tuesday.

Gail Blazer, environmental engineer, came before the Mayor and Council Tuesday to convey the success of the beach district mini-grant program. She also requested further mitigation funds for continuation of the beach district mini-grant program as well as expansion to bayscape planting.

The beach district program was a pilot project that used mitigation funds from developers under the Critical Area Program. The funds were distributed in the form of small mini-grants to residents willing to plant and maintain beach district plant material.

Blazer provided letters and pictures to the Mayor and Council as proof of the success of the first year of the program.

A letter from the Ocean City Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation praised the program.

“I certainly hope that all groups had as much success as ‘Surfrider’ and that this opportunity will surface again for the spring of 2008,” Chapter President Shelly Dawson wrote.

The Surfrider Foundation planted over 70 plants at the street end beach crossover on 65th Street.

“We had not only great weather, but a successful beach enhancement initiative – our favorite,” Dawson said.

Jocelyn Kavanaugh, president of the Ocean Villa Condominium Association, was also pleased with the mini-grant program.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the Town of Ocean City for this grant. It is a worthwhile planting project. Most importantly, it helps to protect the environment. Moreover, it provides an opportunity for owners to get together to beautify our section of the beach,” Kavanaugh said.

Blazer requested that the beach district mini-grant be approved for next year as well as an increase in funds from $10,000 to $25,000 to include the bayscape planting program.

The funds will cover the cost of plant materials, fertilizer, sand fence, additional materials needed for the project as well as some city labor cost to prep certain areas for planting.

According to Blazer, the mitigation account currently has $162,705.

“We have quite a lot of money in there and it has to be spent in the town on either public or private property,” Blazer said. “It was such a good program and it was really good for the city to be able to give some money back to the community.”

Councilwoman Nancy Howard gave support to the request.

“I think this is a successful project and if you’ve gone up to see the street ends of any of these you’d be very impressed,” she said.

The council voted unanimously to approve the request for mitigation funds to be used for beach district and bayscape planting mini-grants.