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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Bishopville Pond to get ecological overhaul next year

After several years of planning by various county and state agencies, as well
as private organizations, Bishopville Pond will undergo a major renovation to
aid fish attempting to spawn upstream and to improve the headwaters of the St.
Martin River.

The pond, which
was created by a dam at the northern tip of what is known as Bunting’s Branch,
had suffered for years because of pollution filtering down from streams in

“There needs to
be constant flow up and down the river, and the dam has to be opened up for
fish and other animals can pass through,” said Roman Jensien, science
coordinator of Maryland Coastal Bays.

The local
organization that is working with the state Department of Natural Resources,
the Department of the Environment, the State Highway Administration and a
number of other entities to complete a project that has been in discussion for
about 10 years.

The main
concern, according to Jensien, is that the design of the dam that was built
more than 50 years ago in Bishopville Pond beside Route 367, just past Jarvis
Road, did not take long-term sustainability into consideration.

Bishopville Pond empties into the Isle of Wright Bay through St. Martins River,
this causes serious concern for the fish such as herring that travel up-stream
to spawn. The dam not only keeps the water back, it also prevents these fish
from reaching the most suitable areas for spawning.

"Fish, like
herring, like to get to upper portions of streams where there is a lot of
debris for eggs to attach to," said Kevin Smith, chief of restoration
services for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Also other
wildlife, such as turtles, is forced to find ways around the dam, a
circumstance that inevitably leads to the road itself.

The old dam,
however, will be replaced by  a
“fish ladder,” or a stream that rises in a series of pools that will allow fish
to swim up the waterway with ease.

Known as weirs,
a series of small drop-offs that create waterfall-like effects will also to
improve the flow in that area.

“You will see a
flowing stream traveling through the bridge that allows animals to easily pass
through,” Jensien said.

Along with the
work to increase flow, two of the five acres of the pond will be eliminated to
clean up the water.

Dredging will
occur in one section of the pond to remove polluted sediment and sand berms
will be placed to cover any contaminates the sediments could release into the

“Once the berms
are installed, the sediments will be locked in and unable to continue damaging
the pond,” said Jensien.

Vegetation will
also be planted throughout the pond, which, as they absorb various chemicals,
also will improve the water quality.

According to Smith, new
vegetation will oxygenize the water, which results in more clear waterway and a
less rotten odor.

 “Once this is complete, more than a mile
of stream networks will be provided with nutrients,” Jensien said.

A group of
Atlantic White cedar trees will be planted next to the pond, which will benefit
the area functionally and aesthetically.

The trees’ roots
make the ground’s foundation stable, which in turn quickens the process of
removing water saturated in the ground.

Altogether, the
project will cost more than $1 million and will be paid for by county funds,
grants from Maryland Coastal Bays and a portion of the Chesapeake Bay stimulus

construction set to begin in the new year, the team hopes to receive some
permits by the end of the month and will soon put the project up for bid to

construction begins, the Bishopville Pond Restoration project is expected to be
complete after three months of work.