OCEAN CITY — The next round of beach replenishment in Ocean City slated for this fall is a go after the federal Army Corps of Engineers this week announced it had awarded the contract for the project.
The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) announced on Tuesday if had awarded the $15.7 million Ocean City beach replenishment project contract to Weeks Marine, Inc. The project is expected to move roughly 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from the outer continental shelf to replenish about eight miles of beach in Ocean City. The project is set to begin just after Labor Day and be completed before Memorial Day next year.
In March, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the ACE and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced an agreement to source sand from the outer continental shelf for the upcoming beach replenishment project. Sand for the project will be sourced from the Weaver Shoal about seven miles off the coast of Ocean City. Sand usually sourced from borrow areas in state waters has been depleted from previous replenishment projects.
Ocean City’s beaches are replenished every four years, or occasionally more frequently if the beaches are severely damaged and eroded during hurricanes or coastal storms. The resort’s beaches have been replenished five times since the inception of the Atlantic Coast of Maryland Shoreline Protection Project.
Beach replenishment began in Ocean City in 1994 through a 50-year agreement with the town, Worcester County and the state of Maryland partnering with the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which provides over 50 percent of the funding for the massive undertaking. The overall project includes a wider, elevated beach, a protective sea wall along the Boardwalk and an vegetated dune system from the end of the Boardwalk to the Delaware state line. Congressman Andy Harris praised the ACE for awarding the contract and moving forward with the project his fall.
“Ocean City beach replenishment is always an Army Corps’ project of top concern for my constituents,” he said. “This is good news for Ocean City and the state of Maryland, as our coastal beaches attract millions of tourists each year from the surrounding region, driving economic activity and generating tax revenue for our seasonal towns. I thank the Army Corps for their commitment to ensuring that our beaches remain an enviable destination for the entire region.”
The Army Corps estimates the town’s beach replenishment project has prevented more than $927 million in storm damage since its inception.