By Guy Leonard, The Calvert Gazette
HOLLYWOOD, Md.—A plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aims to restore the northern stretch of wetlands in the Town of North Beach, and includes digging channels in the areas west of Route 261.
This would allow for greater tidal water flow into the wetlands and grasses which stand there. Engineers propose this to allow different vegetation to take root in the marshes in the northern stretch of town to replace what they believe are an invasive species that choke off wetland flora and fauna.
These invasive plants, known as phragmities, will be the target of forced removal, the plan states.
The plan calls for a new culvert pipe at both the northern and southern ends of Route 261 at the wetlands. Town engineer John Hofmann told town council members that the culvert under the highway at the border with Anne Arundel County would have two-to-three times the capacity of the present one to combat heavy sedimentation in the pipe.
Finally the plan calls for breakwaters in the bay east of the roadway and wetlands.
The total cost of the army corps plans came to a little over $2.4 million to be shared between the corps and the town.
Councilman Randy Hummel said the town might look to private environmental and conservation groups for grant money to help pay for their portion of the project, but one of the big issues will be to convince property owners whose land will be affected by the project to agree to the work.
Very little of that is town owned, Hummel said. You have the town and corps who want to do it but you have to get the property owners on board.
Hummel said that improving the wetlands by getting rid of the invasive plants will mean higher resale value for property overlooking a vibrant habitat instead of what he called what is fast becoming a water logged desert.