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Storms Leave Mini Cliffs on Some Beaches in Ocean City

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Fifth Street Beach typically suffers the worst erosion during coastal storms.

By MADDY VITALE

This fall’s coastal storms left erosion in their wake on the beaches of Ocean City and all coastal communities.

Offseason coastal storms leave mini cliff-like gashes in the dunes every year. And then, as is always the case, the beaches are replenished by the city and sometimes with a little help from Mother Nature with shifting winds, Ocean City officials explained.

The vertical escarpment, as is the term for chunks of the dunes, was dramatic in parts of the downtown beaches on Sunday, but particularly on Fifth Street. Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Streets have also suffered erosion in recent heavy storms.

While it wasn’t last weekend’s storm that caused all of the recent erosion, coastal storms in the off-season months play a role in shoreline erosion every year, officials said.

Strong gusts of wind from the most recent storm bring sand to the promenade in front of the Music Pier.

Pieces of sand have been cut like pieces from a giant jigsaw puzzle on Fifth Street beach. To a lesser extent, the effect occurred on the beaches of Sixth and Seventh Street and to a much lesser extent on Eighth Street.

“We monitor the beaches every year, especially in the fall and spring, and we certainly try to keep the beaches intact,” said Michael Allegretto, assistant mayor Jay Gillian, in an interview Monday night. “The city center seems to be our biggest area to lose sand because of the currents and the length of the island. The downtown beaches are always a matter of concern.

A strong dune system has been in place since the city started building them in the 1990s, he noted.

The joint three-year replenishment project with the city, state, and the US Army Corps of Engineers allows beaches to be replenished to provide beachgoers with a wide sandy shoreline in the spring and summer.

“Certainly we have a dune system to hold the sand in place,” Allegretto said. “There is a large dune system to protect the shore. “

The 8th Street beach has suffered some erosion.

However, even with a strong dune support system to protect properties and beaches, storms continue the cycle of sand removal which will inevitably be replenished.

“If we have to move sand, we will definitely do so when needed,” Allegretto added. “The federal project is helping to protect homes and keep beaches a good size.”

In 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers rebuilt some of the beaches. During the summer of 2020 and 2021, visitors to the island bask on expansive beaches.


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