County Prioritizes Fed Projects

SNOW HILL –  Projects to improve the navigability of the Inlet and address a nearby scour hole are top county priorities when it comes to Army Corps of Engineers projects.

The Worcester County Commissioners this week agreed to pen a letter outlining the county’s top five priority projects to be addressed by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and to send it to Sen. Ben Cardin and other elected officials.

“These projects are very important to the county and Ocean City,” Commissioner Bud Church.

According to Bob Mitchell, the county’s director of environmental programs, Cardin’s office asked Worcester County for input on ACE projects of particular significance.

“There is a ban on earmarks of course for specific projects and that’s still in effect in Congress but it may be helpful for the county to provide input to the senator’s office to assist him in his advocacy for funding programs that manage these projects,” Mitchell said.

He suggested the county send a list outlining four ongoing projects as well as a handful of potential additional projects. The top priority on Mitchell’s proposed list is the Inlet Navigational Improvement Project, which is underway to address the accumulation of sediment in the channel. Mitchell reported recommendations and plans could be completed by 2020 though any actual improvements likely won’t occur until 2021.

The second priority listed is the scour hole study, which was started in 2017 to address the hole near Homer Gudelsky Park.

Other items on the list being sent to Cardin’s office include the Assateague Island Restoration Project — which allows for long-term dredging activities — as well as the regular maintenance dredging that occurs near the harbor and in Sinepuxent Bay.

“That maintenance dredging money, it’s not always a guarantee so it may be helpful to put that on the senator’s radar,” Mitchell said.

Potential future projects included on the list were the restoration of he eroded northern tip of Assateague Island, the reshaping of the jetties off Assateague’s northern tip and the beneficial use of dredged material to restore islands in the Assawoman and Sinepuxent bays.

“The beneficial use of dredged materials is really of great interest to the state, local and federal partners,” Mitchell said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.