MCBP Presents Jenkins Point Update

MCBP Presents Jenkins Point Update
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program, in partnership with the Ocean Pines Association, presented community members with an update on the Jenkins Point restoration project. Above, Underwood & Associates representative Chris Becraft is pictured during Monday’s presentation. Photo Courtesy of Joe Reynolds

OCEAN PINES – An update on the Jenkins Point restoration project highlighted a meeting in Ocean Pines this week.

On Monday, the Ocean Pines Association and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) held a public meeting on the Jenkins Point restoration project. Held in the clubhouse meeting room, officials presented community members with a timeline for the upcoming project, as well as design concepts of the work being performed.

“The primary goal of this project is to restore and reconnect the eroding and fragmented islands once part of the Jenkins Point peninsula to provide a nature-based buffer for the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and Marina and the Osprey Point condominium community, while also enhancing wildlife habitat,” a statement from MCBP reads. “The proposed Dynamic Living Shorelines design features breakwaters created from materials conducive to tidal marsh growth that will anchor the vegetated dune and beach. This project is being designed to account for projected sea-level rise through 2050, and it will serve as a demonstration site for nature-based climate resilience.”

In 2020, MCBP applied to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for funding to reestablish the eroding Jenkins Point Peninsula, located in the Isle of Wight Bay just offshore of the Ocean Pines Yacht Club. To that end, the local agency approached the association with plans to pursue grant funding for the project.

Ultimately, the program’s proposal was not selected for DNR funding, but officials were encouraged to reapply. And in 2022, Maryland DNR announced MCBP was successful in its grant application and was awarded funds for a restoration project at Jenkins Point.

In an update Monday, MCBP Executive Director Kevin Smith said DNR had awarded $62,000 for design work related to Jenkins Point. He said goal of the project is to restore the fragmented peninsula, protect areas that are vulnerable to storms and sea level rise and address habitat loss.

“One of the things we want to do with this plan is not only protect Ocean Pines and the infrastructure there, but also enhance the habitat value, particularly for shore birds, terrapins, horseshoe crabs, things like that,” he said.

Smith noted that the project is currently in its design and permitting phase. While the design is expected to take roughly six months to complete, he said permitting could take more than a year.

“If everything were to fall together perfectly, we could potentially be under construction for a project like this in December of 2024,” he said.

During Monday’s meeting, Chris Becraft of Underwood & Associates, an ecosystem restoration company, presented attendees with some design concepts for the Jenkins Point restoration project. When asked if there was any downside to completing the project, he said there wasn’t.

“I think this project doesn’t scare us at all, it only excites us,” he replied.

Becraft also fielded questions about landscape design, construction length, and potential impacts to boaters and kayakers. When asked if there would be funding to maintain Jenkins Point at the conclusion of the project, Becraft said grant funding is typically set aside.

“But if you do this right, they won’t go away, even when big storms come,” he said.

Officials say funding has yet to be secured for the actual construction. They estimate the project to cost around $7 million.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.