Officials Eye Pond Stabilization Project

OCEAN PINES – A soft shoreline project is expected to stabilize the South Gate pond.

General Manager John Viola said the Ocean Pines Association is working with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program to proceed with a soft shoreline project at the South Gate pond. He said with the use of federal funding and environmental techniques, the association will be able to protect the pond from further erosion.

“There will be all grasses planted around the pond,” Viola told residents at a board meeting Saturday. “We’re going to start on the [Route] 589 side, mostly there, where there’s the most erosion. And the main thing on this is to stop erosion and filter the water.”

Nearly two years ago, members of the Ocean Pines Environmental and Natural Assets Committee came before the board of directors to present a plan that would not only deter the growing number of Canada geese from congregating near the pond but would prevent soil erosion along the waterline. The project, they reported, called for planting buffer vegetation around the South Gate pond.

“The habitat modification will serve two very important purposes,” former committee chair Sharon Santecroce said at the time. “It will help stop the land erosion – one of our main goals – and also deter the Canada geese from gathering, building nests and increasing their population.”

During last week’s board meeting, Viola said since that time the association has teamed up with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program to pursue a soft shoreline project. He added that a work plan has been submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency with anticipated approval, and that federal funding of $150,000 will allow for site planning and grass plantings.

“It’s about $150,000 reimbursable based upon Ocean Pines presenting the invoices …,” he said. “We’re working with Vista on a site plan – we’re figuring about $50,000 for that – and we are working with several people on this. With flowers and all that, we’re estimating around $100,000.”

Viola noted that the Maryland Coastal Bays Program will also assist the association in issuing a request for proposals (RFP).

“Their management will work with us …,” he said. “We have to get three bids on everything, and we’ll go from there.”

While he noted the goal of the project is to stabilize the pond, Viola said measures to protect turtles would also be addressed.

“We’re going to look at that and that’s going to be part of this program,” he said. “I’m sure some people like that.”

When asked if people will still be able to fish at the South Gate pond, Viola said they would.

“I’m actually going to look to the anglers for some feedback,” he replied, “but yes, probably not every foot of it, but we are going to build that in.”

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.