OCEAN CITY – In an ongoing effort to help the health of the beach, Ocean City is offering beach district plant grants.
According to Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer, the beach district planting program was developed to address an area in need of attention along the ocean. The area is located behind the primary dune along the beach, called the beach district or the secondary dune, which is susceptible to erosion and scour.
The secondary dune is specifically the area east of the building limit line and west of the beach replenishment line. The building limit line was established in 1976 and is a separate line than the beach replenishment baseline. The secondary dune area is between the two lines.
The ownership of this area varies. It could be owned by the state, city or by a private property owner. The town felt that this area was being neglected and wanted to offer an incentive program for people who wanted to plant suitable plants in the area and put up sand fencing.
The program helps with the erosion and scour as well as the water quality and habitat. It also offers food and shelter to native and migratory animals, birds and insects. The plants utilize nutrients and the natural dissipate from the sky to help with water quality.
“The plants are very beneficial to the stability of the dune system,” Blazer said.
The roots hold the sand in place. Beach grass roots can grow to be 12 inches long. Nutrients are a major pollutant to the surrounding waters, thus plant material absorb the nutrients, to improve the water quality.
Suitable plants to add to a secondary dune area are Bayberry, Rugosa Rose, Beach Plum, High Tide Bush, Red Cedar, Beach Grass, Panic Grass, and Seaside Goldenrod.
“The program is well received by the citizens,” Blazer said. “They always express their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the program.”
The grant application will be accepted starting Nov. 29 for first-time applicants and Dec. 13 for previous grant recipients. Contact Blazer at City Hall at 410-289-8221 for an application and order form.