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Project targets erosion in Ocean Pines’ South Gate Pond

The Ocean Pines Association’s and Maryland Coastal Bays’ shoreline restoration project will also support beautification and wildlife preservation.

South Gate shoreline

The shoreline of the South Gate Pond in Ocean Pines is pictured. has been identified by officials as needing stabilization.
Tara Fischer/Bayside Gazette

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer

Members of the Ocean Pines Association and Maryland Coastal Bays Program intend to combat erosion in the South Gate Pond with a planned soft shoreline project. Beautification and wildlife preservation are also top concerns.

Environment and Natural Assets Committee Chair Timothy Peck said the venture was proposed and confirmed in January. Discussions of a similar plan came before the board of directors nearly two years ago. 

To combat the erosion, MCBP will grow native vegetation around the pond, including grass and flowers. The effort will occur in May, and officials will monitor the plantings over the summer. The entire project will cover 4,600 feet of shoreline, with the initial phase focusing on the area that faces Racetrack Road, where soil loss is most troublesome. 

“We initially saw this as doing some plantings to help stem erosion along certain parts of the South Gate Pond,” OPA General Manager John Viola said. “After further review by our team and a site visit by Maryland Coastal Bays Program officials, we think there’s an opportunity for a larger project to help address erosion issues, improve water quality, and beautify the entire area while also preserving fishing space and protecting local wildlife, like the fish and turtles that live in the pond. This will also create a nice backdrop for the Veterans Memorial events.” 

Peck noted that the project will also improve stormwater management and deter the Canada geese from congregating near the pond, as they typically avoid high vegetation areas.

Ocean Pines received $150,000 from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to complete the two-phase endeavor. The first part of the plan, which is now underway, is design work and will cost roughly $50,000. The second step, with a $100,000 price tag, is implementation. The shoreline project will be framed for the established budget. However, if needed, OPA  officials will seek more money.

Viola confirmed that MCBP will help the association issue a request for proposals, or RFP, the process required to select contractors. He said project officials must hear three bids, and they are currently drafting an RFP for phase one. Phase two will ideally start in the fall.

The shoreline plan will consider the multiple uses of the pond, including the anglers and the park’s enjoyment in how it will be established, Peck said. Access points will be made available so as not to disrupt the fishing crowd. 

Viola assured that the board and the Ocean Pines community have received the project well. 

“Who doesn’t want a cleaner, more attractive South Gate Pond?” he said. 

This story appears in the Feb. 8, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.