Managing the shifting sands of the Coastal Bays

As a part of the Corps’ annual monitoring, pictured above is a scour hole just off of Homer Gudelsky Park just west of the Ocean City inlet. The hole, which is 48ft deep at its’ center (dark blue), has been moving and changing shape for nearly 70 years.

As a part of the Corps’ annual monitoring, pictured above is a scour hole just off of Homer Gudelsky Park just west of the Ocean City inlet. The hole, which is 48ft deep at its’ center (dark blue), has been moving and changing shape for nearly 70 years.

ROMAN JESIEN | 26 November 2012

The Coastal Bays Navigational and Dredging Advisory Group  has been working to better manage sand resources in the Coastal Bays.  The group, consisting  of a variety of stakeholders including local residents, businesses, and government agencies recently met to discuss maintenance channel dredging and island replenishment operations.  A major goal of the committee was to exploit maintenance dredging of navigation channels  to restore habitat for horseshoe crabs, and rare and state endangered water birds. By decreasing the transportation distances for dredge material, these projects save taxpayers and private businesses money.  Skimmer Island restoration, just to the north of the Route 50 bridge, is an example of one such project where everyone benefited through cooperation between government and private enterprise.

Horseshoe crabs

Horseshoe crabs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year, four additional islands will be restored in the coastal bays.  Locations include Assawoman Bay, two in Sinepuxent Bay and Robbins Marsh in Chincoteague Bay.  Restoration efforts will consist of enlarging existing islands or, in one case, Assawoman, restoring a completely eroded island.  These islands will provide additional nesting habitat that is in short supply for important species like horseshoe crabs, terns and black skimmers.

Thanks to all who participated.

For exact locations of islands and for a copy of the minutes of the meeting contact Roman Jesien at Rjesien@mdcoastalbays.org

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