Study Planned to Permanently Address Shoaling Issues at Ocean Ci - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Study Planned to Permanently Address Shoaling Issues at Ocean City Inlet

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 11:14 AM Updated:
Hopper Dredge Currituck dredging OC Inlet earlier this year (WBOC) Hopper Dredge Currituck dredging OC Inlet earlier this year (WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md.- The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is beginning work on a five-year study to permanently address shoaling issues at the Ocean City inlet. 

For commercial watermen like Mike Coppa, the inlet is a critical waterway.

"This is the only oceanbound inlet in the state of Maryland, so there's actually no other options. We have to land state species here," said Coppa.

The inlet serves as a key landing doorway that Mike dreads passing through.

"You run aground, right there, between the two buoys. We have to wait out there for the highest water possible, and you get to the bump, and you're physically powering boats across this physical barrier to get in here," said Coppa.

Shifting sediment turning waters shallow, and causing big problems for years now. 

Jacqui Seiple, a study manager with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, said funding shortfalls mean the inlet is not dredged every three months like it should be.

"We have some funding through another program that dredges the inlet about twice a year," said Seiple.

That's why the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is beginning work on a $1.2 million study to identify and implement a long-term solution.

The study will include a three-year feasibility phase to determine costs and benefits of the project, followed by two years of design and implementation.

Hope is on the horizon, but for fishermen like Mike, the problem is still persisting and hurting business.

"This is costing me a lot of money. Not only us, it's costing the state," said Coppa.

Half of the feasibility study will be paid for by the federal government.

Worcester County officials have committed $300,000 to the project, with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers looking to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a funding partner as well.

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