Public Meeting Announced On Fed’s Inlet Efforts

OCEAN CITY — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in coordination with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Worcester County, is hosting a public meeting May 30 at the Worcester County Library’s Berlin branch from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to discuss two concurrent efforts — a project to address sediment accumulation in the Ocean City Inlet as well as a study on the scour hole near Homer Gudelsky Park.

From 6:30-7 p.m., there will be an open house when participants can view posters, provide feedback and speak with project personnel. From 7-8 p.m., there will be a formal presentation to provide an overview of the projects as well as open the floor for questions. The meeting will wrap up at 8:30 p.m., allowing attendees to again view materials and speak with officials about specific concerns following the presentation.

The Ocean City Inlet navigation channel is regularly used by commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, the U.S. Coast Guard and others. The Corps removes material from the Inlet through dredging two or more times per year in an attempt to maintain the channel’s authorized depth of 10 feet. However, the Inlet continues to fill in with material, creating concerns for navigation.

The Corps signed a project partnership agreement Feb. 14, 2019, with Maryland DNR and Worcester County for the “Ocean City Harbor and Inlet” navigation improvement project, which is 90 percent federally funded. The Corps will evaluate sediment transport in the inlet and recommend options to manage the shoaling to include structural solutions like jetties or channel modifications like deepening the channel in the inlet.

As part of the “Scour Hole: Beneficial Use of Dredged Material” study, which is 100 percent federally funded, the Corps and crews from the Corps’ Engineer Research and Development Center began work in 2017 to gather field data to better understand the approximately 50-foot-deep scour hole just northwest of Homer Gudelsky Park. Work included collecting sediment samples, deploying instrument suites, and mapping the region to obtain information about the movement of sediment in and around the scour hole. The scour hole is causing shoreline instability, foundation issues and compromising the rip rap along the shoreline.

Both efforts are being conducted through the Corps’ Continuing Authorities Program, which allows the agency to partner with state and local partners for smaller water resources issues without the need for congressional authorization.