Program has prevented an estimated $717 million in storm-related damages
Ocean City, Md. (August 19, 2013) ─ Governor Martin O’Malley joined federal, State and local officials on Saturday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ocean City Beach Replenishment Program and Hurricane Protection Project. The program, a joint effort between Maryland, Worcester County, Ocean City and the Army Corps of Engineers works to improve recreation, defend the city against storms and provide a foundation for hurricane protection.
“Congratulations to our federal, county and city partners on a quarter century of working together to support one of our greatest economic engines and recreational resources,” said Governor O’Malley. “Since 1991, this project has prevented $717 million in property damage from storms like Irene and Sandy. But it also protects something that cannot be measured in dollars and cents: The continued opportunity for Maryland working families to enjoy their place in the sun and to make memories that will last a lifetime.”
Senator Ben Cardin, State Senator Jim Mathias, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Worcester County Commissioner Bud Church, and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, along with representatives from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Army Corps of Engineers gathered at 27th Street and the Boardwalk to recognize the dedicated partners and staff who have managed the project and celebrate its successes.
“Beach replenishment is about protecting Maryland’s beaches, protecting Maryland’s jobs and protecting Maryland’s economy. It is a long-term investment that must be made every year,” Senator Barbara Mikulski said in a statement. “Since its completion, it has repeatedly demonstrated its value by preventing more than $700 million in damages over the last 25 years. Most recently, it successfully protected the residents of Ocean City and Worcester County from Super Storm Sandy. Beach replenishment is proven to protect public and private infrastructure and jobs. That’s why I’ve fought so hard to put funds in the federal checkbook for Ocean City beach replenishment.”
“Twenty-five years of protecting Ocean City’s beaches has proved to be invaluable, especially during recent hurricane seasons. Congratulations to all those who have kept this private-public partnership going strong,” said Senator Cardin. “Maryland’s premier beach resort is less vulnerable today because of our efforts, but these programs must be continued and expand for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the regional economy.”
The Ocean City Beach Replenishment was completed over time in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with Phase I designed to enhance the beach for recreation purposes, protect the city against 10-year frequency storms, and provide the foundation for Phase II, 100-year hurricane protection.
Since then, the partners have spent $83.8 million ─ $21 million of which came from State funding ─ on dredging, sand placement, construction and periodic renourishment. The next scheduled nourishment project will be in Winter/Spring 2014. An additional $11 million has been spent on maintenance and monitoring. The Corps estimates the project has prevented $717 million in damage since 1991.
“Beachgoers aren’t cheering the fact that Ocean City and Worcester County Governments have each invested nearly $9.7 million into beach replenishment,” said County Commissioner Church. “They aren’t championing the State of Maryland for matching our local investments, nor are they singing the praises of the federal government for dumping $43 million in labor and resources into beach replenishment. In fact, they probably don’t even know we’ve partnered to dump 2.2 million cubic yards of sand to strengthen the Ocean City shoreline from 3rd Street to the Delaware State Line. They just know our beaches are fun, safe and beautiful.”
“Over the past 25 years there have been a lot of time, energy, teamwork and money put into the Beach Replenishment Project,” said Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan. “However, if you recall the impact that Superstorm Sandy had on the east coast, and the minimal damage that we experienced here in Ocean City, you realize the true value of the project. You realize that this very big investment that we made in 1988 is much more than a sea wall and sand dunes, but it is a shield to our town and our citizens.”
“The beach replenishment program is an example of the partnership coming together, federal state and local.” said Rep. Ruppersberger. “Our Maryland delegation is totally focused on what we need to do.”
Officials also took the occasion to dedicate the city’s new Boardwalk. The Town of Ocean City completed the reconstruction of its famous boardwalk in spring 2013, yielding a stronger structure to allow heavier vehicles and fire trucks to ride the entire length of the boards.
Ocean City is one of the East Coast’s most popular family vacation destinations, attracting approximately 8 million visitors annually. Ocean City’s 10-mile beach is the main attraction, with the world-famous Boardwalk close behind. Both the beach and the boardwalk have drawn national accolades, making top 10 lists in USA Today, the Travel Channel, National Geographic Woman’s Day, Sherman Travel, Triple A and Trip Advisor among others.