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Jenkins Point plan unveiled at town hall

Will be restored to become natural buffer for mainland

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

Ocean Pines is working in partnership with Maryland Coastal Bays Program to restore Jenkin’s Point to provide protection for the Ocean Pines community and the OP Yacht Club and Pine’s Point Marina. The restoration effort will also provide habitat for native wildlife. Courtesy Google Earth

(May 18, 2023) Looking to the left from Pines Point Marina, the little islands that can be seen in the Isle of Wight Bay are part of Jenkins Point, an eroding piece of property owned by the Ocean Pines Association.

Help, however, is on the way, via a joint effort of the OPA and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. The bays program hosted a town hall meeting Monday at the Ocean Pines Golf Club to explain its plans for the restoration of Jenkins Point.

“Over the years, that peninsula has broken up into smaller islands,” Kevin Smith, coastal bays program executive director, told the audience.

He said the goal is to restore and reconnect the eroding and fragmented islands to create a natural buffer to help protect Ocean Pines, Osprey Point and the OP Yacht Club and Pines Point marinas.

“We want to protect Ocean Pines and enhance wildlife habitat to support shorebirds, horseshoe crabs, terrapins, and other coastal species,” Smith said.

The program has received a Department of Natural Resources grant for $62,000 to be used for the design and permits. The cost of construction, however, is expected to be about $7 million, Smith said, and also would come from government grants.

“This project is exactly what this program (DNR’s Resiliency Through Restoration Initiative) likes to fund,” said Chris Becraft, a partner with Underwood and Associates, a landscape architecture and ecological restoration firm.

The initiative’s purpose, he said, is to demonstrate how nature can help protect communities from storms, and flooding by buffering people and infrastructure.

Becraft said the project will connect two points on a map, or headlands, and create a bay between them. The headlands would be made of buried boulders, and gravel and the bay area in between would be made of gravel and sand. All material will be locally sourced.

The land will then be planted with native grasses including underwater, intertidal and dune grasses. Becraft said he would love to see some pines planted too. The peninsula’s bay-shaped design captures sand and keeps it in the site. In time, the sand will get pushed up and create dunes.

“This is dynamic, everything you want in a shoreline,” he said.

Underwood and Associates did a similar project at Assateague, to the left of the Verrazano Bridge on the mainland side, about four years ago.

Becraft said it is a proven model that works and blends in more with the local landscape than riprap would.

“The Assateague project has the exact same design principles as this one,” Becraft said.

Another benefit of the Assateague project is that oysters are now growing there, according to Becraft.

Ocean Pines has a number of residents growing oysters to help clean St. Martin’s River. Those oysters could be used on the Jenkin’s Point project.

“This could not come at a better time,” said Steven Hannon, board president of the Pines Point Marina, which has rebuilt the riprap and replaced deck boards.

Kayakers in the audience asked if the new land would force kayakers closer to motorboat traffic.

Becraft assured them that the new land would gently slope into the water, providing shallow areas for kayakers that would keep motorboats away. He also suggested that in the plans, priorities could be made for buoys and signage.

“We could be under construction by December 2024 if everything works perfectly,”

This project will serve as a demonstration site for natural and nature-based solutions for enhancing community resilience to sea level rise, flooding and coastal storms. Climate resilient features and approaches will be included to ensure that the project is regenerative and able to recover or readjust following natural disturbance from extreme weather and climate-related events.