The State of Maryland owns and maintains the Ocean City beaches and dunes. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) acts on behalf of the State to maintain these important resources. MD DNR meets and coordinates with the Ocean City Engineering Department regarding the condition of the dunes. In the winter to early spring months, MD DNR contracts numerous dune maintenance operations, including: repairs of dune fencing and rope fence, trimming and removal of dead and overgrown vegetation, planting and fertilizing of new vegetation, and repairing the clay “Dune Crossover” pathways to the beach.
After Memorial Day, the Town of Ocean City’s Public Works Department performs minor maintenance operations of the “Dune Crossovers”. Property Owners and Visitors may submit maintenance requests at the link below for review by Town Staff:
Understanding Barrier Islands and Coastal Sand Dunes
Coastal sand dunes are formed by waves and wind-blown sand being trapped by vegetation or other obstructions. Barrier islands are narrow stretches of land that run parallel to the mainland constantly, moving, eroding and growing or even disappearing. These barrier islands protect the mainland from extreme weather.
Atlantic Coast of Maryland Shoreline Protection Project
The Town of Ocean City is located on a barrier island. The extensive development of the island has disrupted the natural erosion-replenishment cycle. A project was needed to preserve the natural migration of the barrier island and slow beach erosion. Together, the Town of Ocean City, Worcester County, the State of Maryland and the Army Corps of Engineer’s Baltimore District designed a two-phase beach nourishment and shoreline protection project.
The Town of Ocean City is located on a barrier island. The extensive development of the island has disrupted the natural erosion-replenishment cycle and a project was needed to preserve the natural migration of the barrier island and slow beach erosion. Together, the Town of Ocean City, Worcester County, the State of Maryland and the Army Corps of Engineer’s Baltimore District designed a two-phase beach nourishment and shoreline protection project: The Atlantic Coast of Maryland Shoreline Protection Project.
The 1st Phase of the project was completed in 1988 and included placing 2.3 million cubic yards of sand along 8.3 miles of the Ocean City’s 9 mile-long coastline for the purpose of restoring the width of the beach (i.e. the “Beach Berm). Note that the 8.3 mile-long project is the distance as measured from 3rd Street to 146th Street. The total length of Ocean City’s beach is 9.0 miles which is measured from the Inlet Jetty to 146th Street. Phase 2 of the project was completed in 1992 and included placing 3.6 million cubic yards of sand to construct a 6.9-mile-long dune from 27th Street to 146th Street and expand the Beach Berm as well as constructing a 1.5 mile long steel and concrete seawall from 4th Street to 27th Street. Although the major elements of the Atlantic Coast of Maryland Shoreline Protection Project were completed in 1992, the project still continues with the Army Corps of Engineers managing periodic Beach Renourishment operations occurring approximately every 4 Years at an average of 700,000 cubic yards of sand.
Respect the Dunes
The dune system protects inland properties from storm flooding damage. Pedestrians and vehicles are prohibited from crossing the dunes except at designated areas. This maintains dune stability and promotes new dune growth. Beach grass has thick brittle stalks that can be easily broken and killed by pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
Please keep in mind that damaging the dunes in any way is a criminal offense. Only the Department of Natural Resources contractor is permitted to trim the vegetation.
We would also like to remind you that the installation of fencing, landscaping items, decks, planters, or any permanent item is prohibited east of the Construction Limit Line (CLL). The CLL runs more or less parallel with the dunes and is located approximately ten (10’) feet to the west of the westerly toe of the dunes. This area must be kept clear and open for easy access, maintenance and monitoring purposes. It can be easily located at your property by measuring back ten (10’) feet from the sand fencing at the toe of the dune.