Effort to reduce flooding, clean up watershed should get underway this spring
By Greg Ellison
(Feb. 18, 2021) The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $482,337 grant last week through the Department of Natural Resources to retrofit Bainbridge Pond in Ocean Pines to reduce flooding and improve water quality.
The Board of Public Works authorized the award on Feb. 10, following the Worcester County Commissioners’ decision on Feb. 2 to accept it.
The Bainbridge project, which was in development throughout 2020, had been sidelined last August after the commissioners voted to table acceptance of the state grant because of unanticipated land easement costs.
Commissioners Chip Bertino and Jim Bunting led a unanimous vote on Aug. 18 to pause receipt of the grant for the Bainbridge Pond drainage project.
Since the Ocean Pines Association is not a municipality, the county commissioners agreed to function as a pass-through agent to request state funding for infrastructure improvements in the area around Bainbridge Park.
The Bainbridge proposal, which had strong backing from Bertino and Bunting, was developed through a partnership between Ocean Pines and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.
Coastal Bays Executive Director Kevin Smith said with state funding authorization completed, the improvements can now get underway.
“Once the Board of Public Works approves it, then they can move forward with getting the contracts done and start work,” he said.
The board also increased the final funding amount by roughly $20,000, from an earlier award of $463,300, to cover reimbursable expenses for project management.
“We tried to get every penny we could,” Smith said. “They can put it to good use there.”
The state funding is being coupled with $328,022 from Ocean Pines for a total project cost of $810,359.
“One good thing about this project is that Ocean Pines has some skin in the game,” Smith said.
The association funding is earmarked for replacing roadway culverts beneath Beaconhill Road, Sandyhook Road and Pinehurst Road, which should help increase flood resiliency within section 3 of Ocean Pines.
“Hopefully the funding agencies are going to look at that positively and be able to put more money to work down here,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunities, particularly in the northern portion of the coastal bays.”
Retrofits recommended for Bainbridge Pond and associated outfall channels would bring it into compliance with current state regulations and includes installing forebays, wetland benches, a proper outfall structure and improving dam embankments.
When completed, the project is anticipated to remove 80 percent of suspended soils, 63 percent of phosphorus and 40 percent of nitrogen from approximately 40 acres of currently untreated impervious urban runoff.
Additional improvements to existing outfall channels include removing compacted legacy materials and clay soils, which would be replaced with sand and plants to allow for seasonal runoff and improved resiliency during storms.
Once completed, the Bainbridge project is intended to improve water quality for the entire 115-acre developed watershed by reducing storm water runoff in Ocean Pines, which feeds to the Shingle Landing Prong, a tributary to the Isle of Wight Bay.
Smith said the project is slated to begin this spring.
“There are tying to get that going as quickly as possible,” he said. “We hope that it’s a catalyst to get more work and more monies for Ocean Pines and Worcester County.”