OCEAN CITY — State officials on Wednesday morning approved roughly $4.6 million for the next beach replenishment project in Ocean City slated to begin this fall.
On Wednesday, the three-member Board of Public Works (BPW), which includes Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, unanimously approved the $4.6 million for the beach replenishment project in Ocean City scheduled to begin sometime after Labor Day this fall. The latest installment of the beach replenishment project was expedited after the resort’s beaches took a significant hit during Winter Storm Jonas in January 2016.
The Ocean City beaches are routinely replenished every four years with periodic emergency projects as needed following storms and other natural events. Beach replenishment began in Ocean City in 1994 through a 50-year agreement with the town, Worcester County and the state of Maryland partnering with the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which provides over 50 percent of the funding for the massive undertaking.
The last beach replenishment project in Ocean City occurred in 2014 following Hurricane Sandy, making the next phase in the typical four-year cycle set for 2018.
However, after the beaches took a beating during Winter Storm Jonas last January, it was determined by the federal Army Corps of Engineers the next phase would need to be expedited to bring the beaches and dune system back to pre-storm conditions. The project was initially slated for this spring, but when it appeared the timetable and certain deadlines could move the project past Memorial Day and into early June, it was decided to push until fall.
During the next phase this fall, roughly 883,000 cubic yards of sand will be pumped onto the Ocean City beaches from offshore sources including 371,000 cubic yards needed to replace the sand lost during the January 2016 storm to bring the beach up to the minimum design template and another 521,000 cubic yards needed to bring the beach up to its full design template.
Delegate Mary Beth Carozza (R-38C) testified before the BPW on Wednesday morning on behalf of the state funding and was pleased with the board’s decision to fund the project.
“We in Ocean City and all of Maryland are proud of Ocean City’s pristine beaches and this funding will help keep Ocean City’s beach one of the finest in the world,” said Carozza on Wednesday. “Ocean City’s beach has attracted millions of visitors from throughout Maryland, out of state, and around the world over the years and this funding will ensure that we stay on top.”
The funding request was brought to the BPW by the DNR.
“Replacing and restoring the beaches and berms is essential to the economic health and future of Ocean City,” said DNR Secretary Mark Belton on Wednesday following the BPW meeting. “The partnership between federal, state and local agencies demonstrates the importance of this project to the Eastern Shore, and the millions of tourists and visitors who flock to the sandy beaches of Ocean City each and every year.”
McGean, who also testified before the BPW on behalf of the town on Wednesday, briefed the Mayor and Council on the results later in the afternoon during a budget work session.
“We have everything in place now and we will have a beach replenishment project this fall,” he said. “We’re still waiting on word for a last piece of the funding puzzle from the federal government and that will help determine just how much sand we move.”