Feds Approve $8M For Dune Repairs

heels of a $4 million commitment to the long-term future of the Ocean City
beach replenishment program last week, the resort got another dose of good news
this week when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded an $8 million contract to
repair the network of dunes along the beach ravaged by a severe Nor’easter last

Late last month, the
federal Army Corps of Engineers-Baltimore District awarded a nearly $8 million
contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Ill., to begin
repairing the dunes devastated by a strong coastal storm last November.

The dune system worked
as designed during the storm, but was left in shambles when the dust had
settled. When federal, state and local officials inspected the beaches
following the storm, they determined an estimated $10 million would be needed
to restore the damaged dunes, which had lost nearly half a million cubic yards
of sand from the Boardwalk’s end at 27th Street to the
Maryland-Delaware line.

This spring, roughly
$1.5 million was utilized for emergency repairs to the dune system in order to
increase the protection it provides and to ready the beaches for the summer
season, but a long-term commitment was needed to completely restore the dunes
to pre-storm levels. With the awarding of the roughly $8 million contract late
last month, the Army Corps has followed through on its long-term commitment to
restore the dunes.

The project consists of
maintenance dredging of roughly 1.1 million cubic yards of sand from an
offshore borrow source and pumping it on to the beach where it will be moved
around to restore the dune system along an 8.3-mile stretch from 3rd
Street north to the Delaware line.

While the upcoming dune
repair project will restore the dune system to pre-storm levels, it will not
specifically address three known trouble spots. According to the Army Corps,
the beach has experienced three persistent areas of erosion requiring
significant amounts of sand renourishment since the projects inception,
including 33rd Street, 81st Street and 145th
Street, but the Corps has determined that, at this time, there are no federally
justified solutions that can be implemented.

The emergency dune
restoration project is scheduled to begin shortly after the summer season and
is expected to be completed by December, according to an Army Corps of
Engineers release.

The emergency dune
repair is just part of the larger ongoing Ocean City beach replenishment
project, which has a 50-year commitment from when it began in 1994 to 2044, but
finding offshore sand sources continues to be a challenge. The beaches of Ocean
City are replenished roughly every four years with sand pumped from identified
shoals off the coast of the resort.