BERLIN – Construction of a submerged gravel wetland is underway at town property on Old Ocean City Boulevard.
As part of the town’s ongoing efforts to address flooding and stormwater, a submerged gravel wetland is being constructed on town-owned property between Burley Oak Brewery and the Maryland Coast Dispatch.
“They started excavation yesterday,” said Jeff Fleetwood, the town’s acting town administrator, on Thursday. “It’s going smoothly.”
The submerged gravel wetland has long been on the town’s stormwater priority list but failed to get underway earlier this year when officials determined there was a funding shortfall. While the town had a $75,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and $45,500 in town funds budgeted for the work, cost estimates came in at $175,000. The project was finally able to move forward in August, when the Maryland Coastal Bays Program offered to make up the funding shortfall with money it had left over from another project in the same watershed.
The town hired Goody Hill Groundwork, Inc. to handle the work, which is now underway. Fleetwood said crews were currently digging a large hole on the parcel.
“Earth is being removed and stockpiled at Heron Park,” he said. “They’ve not encountered any issues.”
He said there was still quite a bit of excavation to be done but that once the hole was complete, it would be backfilled with some stone and soil and then piping. Planting will be the last step in the construction process, and once that is done the old fencing around the perimeter of the property will be removed.
“The plan is to have it done within 90 days,” Fleetwood said, adding that most of the heavy work would be done within the first month.
Town officials encourage residents of the neighborhood to be aware of potential detours and delays during the construction process.
According to Mayor Gee Williams, once the submerged gravel wetland is built the property will provide habitat for local plants, insects and birds. Of course, it’s also meant to help with stormwater.
“This property will become an area for stormwater to collect from Graham Avenue and nearby streets and be filtered before continuing into the Hudson Branch waterway,” Williams said. “This will help alleviate some of the flooding experienced in that neighborhood during significant rainfalls as well as contribute to the overall water quality of the Hudson Branch.”