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Pines Environmental Committee delves into Route 90 pond

By Greg Ellison

(Nov. 25, 2021) The Ocean Pines Environmental and Natural Assets Committee on Friday reviewed possible enhancements for the scarcely used Route 90 pond, which is hidden in woods behind the Ocean Pines Library.

Committee Chairman Ken Wolf recently accompanied Maryland Coastal Bays Program Executive Director Kevin Smith on a tour of the pond and its wooded pathway to look for areas that might be improved.

“We really wanted to get the benefit of his thinking,” Wolf said.

Smith said the association owns the pond and woods directly around it, with a State Highway Administration easement running along the edge bordering Route 90.

Wolf said a number of properties are located directly east of the pond, but do not about it.

Among the possibilities discussed, Wolf said, is extending pathway all the way around the pond.

Smith agreed some improvement would be needed but said his impression was positive after walking the trail.

“The path is in pretty good shape,” he said.

Wolf said the direction for any change would be in the spirit of nature preservation.

“More of a sanctuary that’s not as heavily used,” he said.

Wolf said the potential to add a fishing dock has been floated but that giving people greater access could have a downside.

“What you put in there might attract more people,” he said.

Measuring roughly half the size of the adjacent South Gate Pond, the Route 90 pond has an average depth of 10-13 feet.

Smith said the pond is fed by ground water and rainfall.

“It’s cooler and cleaner,” he said.

Among potential upgrades Smith mentioned were adding habitat structures for fish and basking platforms for turtles.

“I know the turtles would appreciate it,” he said.

Smith also highlighted the perks of underwater fish structures such as PVC cubes or natural logs and tree trunks.

“Where you’re going to catch fish is where there’s structure,” he said.

“The pond bottom is fairly barren,” he said.

Smith said other ideas include installing wood duck nesting boxes or adding interpretative signs to highlight the diverse plant life present.

“It’s an almost bog habitat in some areas,” he said.

Smith also suggested having the pond bottom surveyed.

He said the Coastal Bays Program has worked extensively with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources survey crew.

“I’ll put that request in,” he said. “It will not survey boundary or property lines.”