Integrated Coastal Resiliency Assessment

Priority Issues: Shoreline Erosion

Shoreline erosion is a significant concern for many waterfront property owners, with some areas of the Peninsula experiencing upwards of 8 feet of erosion per year (Maryland DNR 2008). To address erosion, many shoreline property owners have fortified their shorelines with expensive riprap (i.e. rock piles) and/or bulkheads that must be maintained on a routine basis. The cost of maintaining these shoreline structures is often a significant financial burden, which has led some to let their bulkhead/riprap fall into states of disrepair. Neighboring property owners are concerned about the impacts that erosion resulting from poor maintenance is having on their shoreline health, but often have limited financial resources and legal options to protect their investments from the impacts. 

Several natural shorelines also exist in the Deal Island Peninsula area, many of which are valued community beaches and are also undergoing severe rates of erosion. Of particular concern is the erosion of a large stretch of natural shoreline on Deal Island near Crowell Rd. which has lost 275 feet of beachfront since the 1970s, including an extensive dune structure that has protected the island from past flooding and storm events. This area of Deal Island is home to a number of residents, including the residents of a historic and low-lying African American neighborhood located just behind it. It is also near where a critical section of Deal Island Rd. is located, providing the only access to communities further south on the Peninsula. 

 

Within the last decade, the Deal Island shoreline has eroded to a thin strip of sand which is often inundated during high-high tides and storm events, leading to the increased flooding of an interior marsh complex and nearby neighborhoods. DIPP stakeholders are particularly concerned about the long-term repercussions that shoreline loss will have should the beach become permanently breeched. 

Erosion behind a bulkhead in Wenona that is encroaching onto neighboring properties. 

A highly erosive shoreline on Deal Island  that provides important protection for interior areas of the island. 

Extreme tide events often flood the shoreline, and temporarily inundate the marsh complex located just behind, causing flooding on neighboring properties. Photo taken November 2018. 

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