This restoration site is part of the Maryland Coastal Bay’s Trail to Restore the Shore project! Click on this story map link to learn more about this location and the other restoration sites part of this trail!
Located off of Shell Mill Road in Bishopville, Maryland, this is a public boat ramp managed by Worcester County. Location coordinates 38.42414 -75.18772.
Original boat launch was built in 1988. The surrounding steep, rocky shoreline was vulnerable to erosion and had a very diminished habitat. To demonstrate living shoreline techniques, as opposed to the hardened shoreline of the existing boat ramp, MCBP provided funding to extend the shoreline in front of the riprap with sand, and then with the help of volunteers, the shoreline was planted with native tidal vegetation in 2006. Additionally, a soft kayak launch was installed at that time. There were plans to include a shallow swale in the center of the parking area, but that was scrapped when it was learned that there was a lot of large rocks and other obstructions in the underlying strata of the parking area.
In 2014, approximately $134,400 was appropriated for the reconstruction of the boat ramp and finger piers. Project funding was made available through a combination of Waterway Improvement Grants and from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and assigned designated funds from Worcester County. The project was designed to be more user friendly and provided safe access to the boating community. The living shoreline aspects of the ramp that were installed 8 years prior were maintained with the new installation.
The boat ramp was built on a steep slope, and the living shoreline would trap some of the water that cascaded through the boulders around the parking area and intercepted the rainwater before it could enter the St. Martin River. In addition, the living shoreline provided better habitat for the birds, fish, and crabs along the shoreline than the stark boulders that were present at the time. Current research indicates that living shorelines promote higher animal diversity compared to riprapped shorelines. The community benefits by having a boat launch that provides safer and easier access to the water by fishers and boating enthusiasts. Lastly, the living shoreline provides a more aesthetically pleasing view to the local community.