Bishopville Pond Project Not A Certainty

SNOW HILL – The environmental restoration of Bishopville Pond and the Lizard Hill borrow pit is still on the books, with construction potentially beginning this summer, after a variety of issues with the decade-old project were resolved.

While an update on the project earlier this fall cited a June 2009 start date, work could be delayed a few months.

There have been numerous setbacks delaying the project over the last 10 years, with the most recent setbacks from concerns over bridge pilings. A major rainstorm could deposit enough water to scour soil from the bridge supports, the state feared.

The worry over potential scouring has been resolved now, said Worcester County Comprehensive Planning Director Sandy Coyman.

“Everything seems to be fine,” he said.

The Bishopville Pond and Lizard Hill restoration are still on the slate, despite the setbacks.

“I’ve got some good news and some uncertain news,” Coyman said Tuesday during a County Commissioner meeting.

The good news is that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has secured additional funding for the work.

“They’ve bumped up the total to about $2.5 million,” said Coyman. 

In a worrying development, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) appears to be waffling on the project.

“The uncertain news, the SHA folks seem to be getting cold feet with the state’s financial situation,” Coyman said.

He suggested the commissioners write to state representatives and the Maryland Department of Transportation to stress the importance of the project to Bishopville and Worcester County.

“If we keep the heat on, State Highway is not going to back out of this one,” he said.

The restoration work will include planting of native vegetation, dredging of the waterway and the addition of a fish ladder.

“The folks up there in Bishopville are very eager for the project,” Coyman said. “If this project doesn’t happen I’ll have to move out of this county.”

People want to see this work completed in their lifetimes, Commissioner Judy Boggs said of the oft-postponed work.

The funding is all committed, according to Coyman.

“We’re so close at this point. We’re finalizing the design and moving forward on the permits. We’re just months away from building this project,” he said.

The Bishopville Pond and Lizard Hill work is six months away, Coyman said, partly due to permit issues.