Jenkins Point, south of the Route 90 bridge in the Isle of Wight Bay, is a series of islands kayak-distance from Ocean Pines that was an unbroken peninsula before 60 years of erosion caused what is now the fragmented pieces off the residential community.
By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program hosted a meeting on Monday in Ocean Pines to discuss a proposed restoration project at Jenkins Point and answer questions from residents.
Jenkins Point, south of the Route 90 bridge in the Isle of Wight Bay, is a series of islands kayak-distance from Ocean Pines. The land was once an unbroken peninsula before 60 years of erosion caused what is now the fragmented pieces off the residential community.
The point currently acts as a storm and wave energy barrier for the nearby marina and developments.
However, based on rising sea level predictions and inundation, what is left of the once-whole landmass will eventually be lost as well. According to MCBP Executive Director Kevin Smith, the goal is to repair the plot so it continues to act as protection to infrastructure such as the Yacht Club, the Osprey Point condominium community, and other neighborhood amenities.
The hope is that the restoration project will also safeguard and attract wildlife. Smith emphasizes the potential of habitat creation for horseshoe crabs, terrapins, and shorebirds. As a result, natural materials and marsh grasses will make up the bulk of the construction supplies.
Jenkins Point has been on MCBP’s radar for a few years. The environmental group applied for funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, to kickstart the rebuild in 2020.
While they were initially unsuccessful, the Ocean Pines Board of Directors voted to provide a $10,000 cost share as part of the reapplication process, and in 2022 Maryland DNR awarded MCBP a grant.
At a meeting last May, Smith said $62,000 would be used for the design and permitting phase. The total price tag of the venture is expected to land around $10 million. MCBP has begun the proposal process to acquire construction funds and has an application pending with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
Advocates for Jenkins Point are optimistic about the endeavor. “This is not rocket science; it’s super far-fetched. You don’t see it everywhere. It’s unique,” Chris Becraft of
Underwood and Associates, an ecosystem restoration company assisting with the project, said. “We’re starting to see larger landscape projects like this. It’s constructable, fundable, and permittable.”
To combat the erosion, Becraft explained the foundation of the design it to create a stable bay with hardened, unmovable headland points off Route 90 and on the furthest tip of Jenkins that is roughly 160 feet offshore. Additionally, officials hope to build the land up to elevation four, meaning residents could walk on their flip-flops after a storm and stay dry. The highest area is currently at elevation two.
“However, if at 75% funded everyone locks their doors and says that’s it, we still plan to move forward,” Becraft said. “We’ll build to elevation three. That’s a lot of dump trucks of sand that don’t have to come in. It’ll get the price down, and maybe we can plan for elevation four.”
The bulk of the build will occur via land access and will take 45 days. Officials maintained that the project would do little for flooding and the primary purpose is infrastructure protection from wave energy and habitat restoration. According to Smith, construction is expected to begin in Dec. 2025, pending funding and the roughly 18-month permitting process.