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Pines committee wants awareness for wildlife issues

By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer

UPDATE: Before going to press, Sanacroce informed the Bayside Gazette that a few signs had been put up on the pond.


A few “Keep Wildlife Wild” signs have finally been placed around Ocean Pines’s South Pond. Image courtesy Debbie Donahue.

The Ocean Pines Environment and Natural Assets Committee is still waiting on its “Keep Wildlife Wild” signs for South Gate Pond.

After the committee’s June 15 meeting, Committee Chair Sharon Santacroce said they’re still waiting for answers from the Ocean Pines Public Works Department regarding the hold-up and how much longer they can expect to wait.

“It’s getting frustrating for our members,” Santacroce said. “It’s so crucial to educate people about feeding the geese. We started this project a year and a half ago. It was covid two months ago (delaying the signs) and we get that. We’re just getting frustrated and we’re not getting answers.”

Santacroce said that three months ago she and Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Director Debbie Donahue marked places around the pond that they’d like signs to go — all that’s left is sticking them in the ground.

“We’re really starting to get concerned as to why the signs haven’t been installed,” she said.

In other business, the committee is formulating what Santacroce described as a “master plan and budget” for a project that will put more indigenous vegetation buffers on South Gate Pond that should address erosion caused by geese.

Last month, the committee invited Billy Weiland, communications manager for Assateague Coastal Trust, to give them a presentation of options available to the committee. Now, Santacroce said, the time has come for the committee to develop a plan that it can bring to the board of directors.

“We may be having a huddle before our next meeting,” Santacroce said. “We’re going to pull together a presentation for the master plan and (present it) to the board so they understand what our goals are so we can move forward with these plans.”

Buffers will deter geese from congregating and building nests in the area by playing on their instincts to avoid predators lying in wait.

The committee will also be venturing out to the Route 90 pond to see if they can find the overgrown former kayak launch that they’ve been hearing about. If they find it, Santacroce said they plan to bring it back to life.

Finally, the committee discussed newspaper pollution caused by the plastic bags in which the papers are delivered. They’re still in the planning stages of how to address the issue, however.

“We’re looking at what alternatives could we have available — vending machines possibly,” Santacroce said. “The newspaper bags are getting into St. Martins River. Flooding issues exacerbate it. The heavy rain we just had (on June 14), if it had been newspaper day, we would have had a problem.”

The committee’s next meeting is listed as Aug. 10.

This story appears in the print version of the Bayside Gazette on June 23, 2022.