(Feb. 7, 2020) Ocean Pines could receive financial help on projects to improve water quality and flood protection, as the Worcester County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to apply for a grant through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with the Ocean Pines Association and Maryland Coastal Bays.
Bob Mitchell, director of environmental programs, presented the proposed grant application to the commissioners, explaining that the goal is to upgrade Bainbridge Pond, to make improvements to the Ocean Pines outfall channels and to the proposed Refuge at Windmill Creek off Beauchamp Road.
“These kinds of efforts are going to become more commonplace as we move to create resilience in our communities,” Mitchell said.
The project proposes to maximize water quality treatment to stormwater runoff before it enters Shingle Land Prong in the upper reaches of the St. Martin River.
These upgrades will bring Bainbridge Pond into compliance with current department of environment regulations.
There will also be new interconnections created for runoff from Bainbridge and other untreated areas of Ocean Pines for access to the pond network at Windmill Creek.
In addition, the watershed needs to reduce its nitrogen by 57 percent and phosphorus by 39 percent.
“It’s what needs to be done in order to compete with the larger jurisdictions across the state,” Mitchell said.
He praised Ocean Pines for contributing $700,000 for the project, but added that they needed grant assistance to properly address drainage issues throughout the area.
Environmental Programs is anticipating applying for $1.3-1.4 million for engineering and construction.
County Commissioner Joshua Nordstrom took the opportunity to observe that his southern end of the county has similar flooding and drainage issues, emphasizing that those areas do not have a board or association like Ocean Pines.
“I would like to see those addressed by your department and others, in some fashion, because it’s not going to get better unless the county takes action on some of these issues,” Nordstrom said to Mitchell.
Mitchell said that some of the problem areas in the southern end would be isolated when the county works on the hazardous mitigation plan and the nuisance flooding plan due to the state this year.
“Let’s fix what we can,” Nordstrom said.