The comments made at this week’s press conference touting the importance of the Ocean City beach replenishment project were predictable.
It’s fine that the comments were foreseeable. There’s no denying beach replenishment, while extremely expensive to fund at a total cost of $12.7 million, is protecting Ocean City and saving properties. Those who doubt its effectiveness only need to rewind three decades to see how vulnerable Ocean City’s coastline and oceanfront properties were to storm surge.
The main objective with beach replenishment is obvious. It’s to pump sand to improve the stability of the beach while protecting private and public properties in danger if the ocean rises during a coastal storm event. Additionally, it’s the beach replenishment project that created the sea wall on the Boardwalk and the massive dune system, both of which greatly lessen the vulnerability of oceanfront buildings.
Although there are detractors to beach replenishment, we think its primary goal of securing and protecting Ocean City is well worth the expense and any negatives associated with sandbars and wave formation.
At this week’s press conference, Gov. Larry Hogan said, “Most people are aware of how great the beach is here, but what most visitors don’t realize is that Ocean City’s prime attraction, this legendary beach, is also a very important part of a massive project to protect Ocean City and our coastal shoreline from powerful coastal storms and hurricanes. We must safeguard the Town of Ocean City and our coastal shoreline and this beach for future generations …”
Over the last 23 years, it’s estimated by the Army Corps of Engineers that approximately $927 million in damages have been prevented as a direct result of beach replenishment. There are countless personal stories of loss associated with every dollar saved through this initiative. We are glad we have not had to report them as a result of this project and the federal, state and local partnership that funds it.