US Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore District

Projects in Ocean City, Maryland

Announcements

PUBLIC MEETING

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in coordination with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Worcester County, held a public meeting May 30, 2019, at the Worcester County Library – Berlin Branch to discuss two concurrent efforts: a project to address sediment accumulation (shoaling) in the Ocean City Inlet, as well as a study on the scour hole near Homer Gudelsky Park. View more about these two projects under the Ocean City Inlet Projects drop-down in the module below.

MATERIALS FROM MEETING

Ocean City public meeting PowerPoint presentation (34 MB)

Ocean City public meeting PowerPoint presentation PDF (27 MB)

Army Corps Projects in Ocean City poster

Navigation Improvement Project Overview poster

Navigation Improvement Project Economics and Engineering poster

Scour Hole Study Overview poster

Sediment Modeling poster

Navigation Improvement Project and Scour Hole Study infographic

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Ocean City, MD

 Typical Ocean City Scene in the Summer
 A typical scene in Ocean City in the summer.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, plays an active role in Ocean City – carrying out multiple missions and ongoing efforts in and around this coastal city. On this page, find out the latest regarding the coastal storm risk management project at Ocean City, work associated with the Ocean City Inlet and ecosystem restoration efforts at Assateague Island.

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing Army Corps Efforts

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 Beach renourishment work in 2017
Beach renourishment activities in 2017 as part of
maintenance of the coastal storm risk management
project at Ocean City.

The Atlantic Coast of Maryland Shoreline Protection Project reduces coastal storm risk in Ocean City, Maryland. The project is a cost-shared effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District; the state of Maryland; Worcester County; and the Town of Ocean City.

The project consists of the wide, elevated beach berm (essentially the beach, which many may not realize exists to reduce storm risks), the protective sea wall built into the boardwalk and the vegetated dune system that continues north from the boardwalk to the state line.

These elements work together to reduce impacts to the community from big and small coastal storms that cause flooding, storm surge and wave action. The Corps estimates the project has prevented roughly $927 million in damages to Ocean City to date since its completion in the early 1990s.

STATUS – The most recent periodic beach renourishment work was completed in December 2017. This work is typically done every 4 years. Future work has not yet been scheduled.

Aerial view of Ocean City Inlet 
 Aerial view of Ocean City Inlet

Ocean City Inlet is authorized to a depth of 10 feet, plus 2 feet of allowable overdepth to ensure safe navigation, when funds are available. Historically, the availability of navigation maintenance funding for Ocean City Inlet has not been enough to keep the Ocean City Inlet channel at its authorized depth.

While there are two active efforts associated with the inlet, including one specifically focused on long-term navigation improvements, Baltimore District continues to address shoaling in Ocean City Inlet as best as it can within its authorities and as funds become available. Alternative approaches to help address navigation issues have primarily consisted of small navigation-specific dredging jobs carried out by smaller U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges when funding is available, as well as leveraging our Assateague Island Restoration work and its associated dredging as much as possible to address shoaling hotspots.

DREDGING STATUS – Bypass dredging, performed by Dredge MURDEN, based out of the Corps’ Wilmington District, is anticipated to begin the week of May 26, 2019, and last for approximately one month. Material will be removed from in and around the channel with an emphasis on the ebb and flood shoals. The previous bypass dredging was done in November 2018. This bypass dredging will also focus on shoaling hotspots. Maintenance dredging will again occur when funding is available. 

LARC works in Ocean City as part of study of scour hole
Army Corps vehicle that goes between land
and water works in Ocean City as part of study on
scour hole near Homer Gudelsky Park.

Baltimore District has two efforts underway looking at Ocean City Inlet, including one focused on the growing scour hole near Homer Gudelsky Park and another assessing potential navigation improvements as a result of shoaling. While each effort has a specific focus, the data being gathered and analyzed will be shared between the two efforts in order to increase efficiency, reduce costs and expedite the delivery of solutions for the community.

Scour Hole: Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Study - Baltimore District is assessing a large scour hole that has formed northwest of the inlet near Homer Gudelsky Park. The scour hole is estimated to be at least 50 feet deep in parts and growing, causing shoreline instability and foundation issues and compromising the rip rap along the shoreline. It also has the potential to endanger coastal communities. The goal of the study is to identify the cause of the scour hole and to recommend a path forward to address the scour hole. Data gathered for this study regarding sediment transport is also expected to benefit long-term efforts to address navigation issues associated with Ocean City Inlet. For this effort, we are working closely with the Army Corps Engineer Research and Development Center. The study is 100 percent federally funded.

STATUS – The study formally began in 2017. Works includes collecting sediment samples, deploying instrument suites, and mapping the region to obtain information about the movement of sediment in and around the scour hole. Subject to funding, in 2019, the team hopes to use the collected data to begin modeling potential alternatives to address the scour hole. Public review of a draft report is anticipated in summer 2020.

Ocean City Harbor and Inlet Navigation Improvement Project - This project entails the analysis of potential navigation improvements to help address issues mariners regularly encounter when traversing the federal channel. The inlet suffers from chronic shoaling, despite maintenance dredging, particularly in certain hotspots that have caused problems for commercial fishermen and recreational vessels that rely on the channel. The Corps will evaluate sediment transport in the inlet and recommend options for addressing the shoaling to include structural solutions like jetties or channel modifications like deepening the channel in the inlet. This project is 90 percent federally funded.

STATUS – Baltimore District signed a project partnership agreement Feb. 14, 2019, with Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Worcester County for this project. The plan is to make a recommendation by early 2020 and complete plans by the end of 2020.

Assateague Island erosion just south of the Ocean City Inlet circa 2002 
   Assateague Island erosion just south of the Ocean
   City Inlet circa 2002.

Since 2002, Baltimore District has been carrying out the Assateague Island Restoration project in partnership with the National Park Service. This project involves dredging sand from in and around the Ocean City Inlet navigation channel and beneficially placing it south of the inlet just offshore of Assateague Island. This work is done to mitigate the impacts of sediment transport and erosion caused by the Ocean City Inlet and jetties.

This dredging, referred to as bypass dredging, is typically done twice annually. While the Assateague Island Restoration project is not a navigation project, it does have incidental benefits to navigation due to it drawing material from in and around the inlet to restore the eroded beach south of the inlet on Assateague Island. While not a long-term solution, Baltimore District has leveraged the bi-annual bypass dredging to also address the most significant shoaling hotspots in Ocean City Inlet when feasible. 

STATUS - Bypass dredging, performed by Dredge MURDEN, based out of the Corps’ Wilmington District, is anticipated to begin the week of May 26, 2019, and last for approximately one month. Material will be removed from in and around the channel with an emphasis on the ebb and flood shoals. The previous bypass dredging was done in November 2018. 

Army Corps in Ocean City

Sand is pumped onto the beach near what is likely meant to be McComas Avenue, near 123rd Street now. The training dikes are barriers of sand used to help keep freshly pumped sand in the area while allowing water to flow back to the Atlantic Ocean.
Original Caption from 1963 Report: View north along the boardwalk from the vicinity of 18th Street showing area on 18 September 1962 (above) before placement of protective dune and same area on 10 December 1962 (below) after placement. Near building in the lower picture constructed in the interim. This area completed prior to the 3 November and 26-28 November 1962 coastal storms.
Crews work to construct the steel sheet piling bulkhead with a concrete cap that rises 14.5 feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum along the oceanward edge of the boardwalk in 1991. These boardwalk improvements, working in concert with the wide, elevated beach berm between the boardwalk and the ocean, provide coastal storm risk management to Ocean City during storm events.
Fifty-five years ago, the Ash Wednesday Storm struck Ocean City. Learn how the Corps responded to the storm then and how the storm and that response relate to the Corps' coastal storm risk management project there today. (Part 1 of a 3 part series)
Dredge CURRITUCK fills her hull with a sand and water slurry pulled from the bottom of Ocean City Inlet while conducting Assateague Bypass operations Dec. 22, 2016. Assateague Bypass operations are part of environmental restoration efforts authorized to dredge material from in and around Ocean City Inlet to be placed offshore of Assateague Island to mitigate for erosion caused by the inlet and its jetties. (U.S. Army photo by Chris Gardner)
Dredge CURRITUCK prepares to empty a full load of sand offshore of Assateague Island that was just pulled from the bottom of Ocean City Inlet while conducting Assateague Bypass operations Dec. 22, 2016. Assateague Bypass operations are part of environmental restoration efforts authorized to dredge material from in and around Ocean City Inlet to be placed offshore of Assateague Island to mitigate for erosion caused by the inlet and its jetties. (U.S. Army photo by Chris Gardner)
Crews carry out periodic renourishment work on the beach berm at Ocean City, Maryland Nov. 20, 2017 as part of the maintenance of the coastal storm risk management project there. The beach berm, essentially what most people think of as the beach, is engineered to reduce coastal storm risks in concert with the seawall and dune behind it. (U.S. Army photo by Chris Gardner)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District Commander Col. Ed Chamberlayne walks and talks with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources Mark Belton while visiting ongoing beach renourishment activities in Ocean City, Maryland Nov. 20, 2017. The work is part of the coastal storm risk management project that reduces risks to Ocean City and is a cost-sharing partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Maryland, as well as Worcester County and the Town of Ocean City. (U.S. Army photo by Becca Nappi)
Aerial view of Ocean City Inlet
File photo from initial creation of Ocean City Inlet by a hurricane in 1933.
File photo from initial creation of Ocean City Inlet by a hurricane in 1933.
File photo from initial creation of Ocean City Inlet by a hurricane in 1933.