(Nov. 22, 2019) The following topics were discussed last Wednesday, Nov. 13, during the Green Team meeting:

Flood report

Ocean City Planning and Zoning Director Bill Neville said the city would need to develop a nuisance flooding plan by next October.

He recommended that the group create a subcommittee that would focus its attention on creating the plan, which probably would need to be evaluated by the United States Corps of Army Engineers. 

The subcommittee meets the second Wednesday of every other month. 

Sustainable Maryland 

Ocean City Environmental Engineer Gail Blazer announced that the city had received Sustainable Maryland certification with 380 points. 

The required minimum to be considered for certification is 150. 

The city was awarded a plaque, which sits in the front hall of City Hall, and is good for three years. 

Blazer said Sustainable Maryland is adding more levels to its criteria, and that the Green Team most likely would be certified at a higher level in the future. 

Styrofoam ban

The statewide Styrofoam ban will take effect next July 1. The Green Team agreed that outreach and education on the ban and alternatives to Styrofoam would be a priority. 

Ryan James, owner of restaurant Mother’s Cantina, volunteered to aid in the education effort, and mentioned that he had been completing a case study on charging a surcharge on to-go containers to help cover the cost of more expensive Styrofoam alternatives. 

The Worcester County Health Department will enforce the ban, and fees following an initial warning could amount to $250. 

The Green Team will invite representatives from the health department to its January meeting. 

Butt huts

Based on the success of the cigarette butt hut program, Ocean City Councilman Tony DeLuca asked to expand the program to the Delaware/Maryland state line. Public Works Director Hal Adkins said an expansion would put a strain on his department. He said he would like to implement a volunteer or internship program to help alleviate the maintenance issue. 

In the private sector, Sandi Smith, development and marketing coordinator of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, said she has created a plan for an internship to take over the effort. 

Although the group has given cigarette butt huts to several businesses, only half have installed their receptacles. 

Melanie Pursel, executive director of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, recommended contacting the Salisbury University School of Business, which requires students to complete an internship prior to graduation. 

Source reduction

Smith said the group was good to go in advertising funding for its “Protect our Sand & Seas” program. 

The group will begin advertising the program  and Pursel recommended contacting Donna Abbott, Ocean City’s director of tourism and marketing, to include this effort in the resort’s advertising and marketing campaigns. 

DeLuca suggested a monthly recognition of businesses who commit to the program’s pledges. 

Adopt beach/street

The Adopt your Beach and Street programs continue to produce results.

Green Team members reported that people still seek to clean the beaches during the offseason. 

Adkins said he would like cleaning efforts focused on the dunes, road ends and wetlands. 

Ghost pots

Smith has applied for a grant to fund an event currently titled, “Ghost Crab Pot Rodeo,” which would be similar to a fishing derby, but rather than fish, participants would compete to collect as many abandoned crab pots as possible. 

The Department of Natural Resources has already expressed its interest and support in the event, and the Green Team is looking to work with other environmental organizations. 

Future meeting

The next Green Team meeting will be Dec. 11, at 3:30 p.m. in the City Hall executive conference room.

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