Thursday, June 30, 2011
Ocean City - Skimmer Island
Near Ocean City Maryland, a sand dredging and replenishment project at Skimmer Island is restoring the Island’s size and safeguarding habitat for endangered wildlife.
During late March and early April, Skimmer Island was nourished with 675 cubic yards of clean sand as part of a public-private partnership between DNR and Sunset Marina in West Ocean City.
The project seeks to restore important nesting habitat for wildlife, including the State-endangered black skimmer and royal tern. The island has seen a significant decline in size from 7 acres in 1998 to just over 2 acres last winter.
Skimmer Island provides nesting habitat and shelter for a variety of birds and mammals. During the 2011 breeding season, black skimmers and royal terns returned to nest on Skimmer Island. The island also contains the most important nesting beach for horseshoe crabs in Maryland.
“Skimmer Island is the single most important and valuable piece of barren sand nesting habitat for colonial nesting waterbirds such as the Black Skimmer and Royal Tern in Maryland,” said DNR ecologist David Brinker.
Coastal Stewards will assist with monitoring nesting activity of herons, egrets and ibis on the Island this summer. The Coastal Stewards program is designed to increase environmental literacy, provide hands-on experience in environmental education and outreach and teach green job skills.
The island is one of two large heron nesting and breeding habitats in Worcester County, serving as a valuable eco-tourism site that attracts many bird watchers to Ocean City throughout the year.
The nourishment project is set to continue over the next several years.
source: Maryland DNR