By Greg Ellison
(Dec. 24, 2020) After receiving no comment from community members, Ocean Pines will continue to work with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program to request Department of Natural Resources funding for restoring migratory bird nesting habitats at Jenkins and Osprey Points.
Ocean Pines Association President Larry Perrone said the decision to proceed with the application process initiated in August was contingent on the community understanding the project’s benefits and impacts.
“It must be vetted through the community for the state to consider funding,” he said. “We’ve given the community the opportunity to make comments and there were none.”
Restore America’s Estuaries administers the funding stream provided by the Environmental Protection Agency for the National Estuary Program.
Perrone said grant application guidelines also require the board to discuss the matter in a public meeting.
“Coastal Bays is looking to apply for a grant to have engineering work done to restore the Jenkins Point Island,” he said.
In recent years, a precipitous decline has been observed in migrating bird species traditionally spotted on the Eastern Shore.
The long-term proposal would restore the coastal bay islands for use by colonial nesting birds, such as herons, swallows and sea gulls, which typically shelter in locations devoid of ground predators.
The grant program is intended to protect and restore water quality and ecological conditions of 28 estuaries nationally.
The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust fund landowner project agreement for water quality improvements and habitat management involves an agreement to not destroy property in perpetuity.
Perrone said the funding would the engineering work that would precede a restoration project.
The agreement would also grant land access for project-related work, such as surveying, monitoring and planting vegetation.
Perrone said the board’s next step would involve sending Coastal Bays Executive Director Kevin Smith an authorization letter and affidavit from the board.
“After today’s meeting, we will get the affidavit form filled out and mailed,” he said.
Notification of grant awards is anticipated to begin in early 2021.