BISHOPVILLE — After years of delays, work on the Bishopville pond project looks like it will finally be getting start late this summer or early next fall, according to Maryland Coastal Bays Program Director (MCBP) Dave Wilson.
“We’re really hoping to get things moving,” he said this week.
The Bishopville pond project has been in the works for roughly a decade. In 2010, it looked as though shovels were poised to strike dirt, but issues with funding and permitting caused the effort to stall.
“You’ve got to make sure there’s enough money there to be able to do the project,” said Wilson, who explained that paying for permits before funding for the project was secured risked losing the investment if things fell through.
This year, however, Wilson confirmed that funding is available and all lights are green for a groundbreaking within the next six months.
According to Wilson, $500,000 in funding for the project is being contributed by the Department of Natural Resources, with an additional $400,000 coming from the Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The final $100,000 needed for the project will come from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) itself.
“We’re going to kick in another $100,000 or so to get the project done,” said Wilson.
The project will include the building of a rock ramp at the pond to allow fish to migrate upstream to spawn, an option unavailable for them at the moment because of the presence of the Bishopville dam.
“It’s a really nice habitat upstream,” Wilson explained.
MCBP also plans on dredging the pond, which will improve the condition of the water by removing muck and other harmful substances.
“The dredging part is really where you get the organic material,” Wilson said.
Wilson stressed that the project will not adversely affect the pond or surrounding area.
“The pond itself is going to remain the same size … we want to make sure we are good neighbors,” said Wilson.
The planned work on the Bishopville pond comes not long after the State Highway Association (SHA) concluded restoration on the area’s Lizard Hill.
Beginning last June, the SHA endeavored to restore groves of Atlantic white cedar, planting approximately 6,500 new trees.
Wilson explained that the effort was only the first half of the equation and that the project won’t be complete until work on the Bishopville pond is finished, hopefully next year.