Tales of the Coast
Coastal Histories


Dynamic Sustainability: Maryland's Atlantic Coast

Ocean City and Assateague Island

Dynamic Sustainability: Shoreline Management on Maryland's Atlantic Coast

Looking to the Future

The shoreline management projects at Ocean City, Ocean City Inlet, and Assateague Island have benefited from the research and data collection efforts in this region, and the Corps has made important strides in developing efficient and sustainable management techniques. Shoreline management at these locations began with structural methods, such as groins and jetties. Over time, beach nourishment became the main component of shoreline management plans.

Understanding the regional scope of a sediment system—barriers, inlets, bays, shoals, mainland—was instrumental to management developments on Maryland's Atlantic coast. By viewing the components as interconnected, the Corps and other stakeholders have been able to account for the projects' effects on the surrounding shorelines and wildlife and determine how the projects can remain viable in the coming years.

Stakeholders must adopt a long-term perspective because conditions could change due to many factors. If climate change leads to increased storm activity or accelerated rates of sea-level rise, the beaches at Ocean City and Assateague Island could be threatened with increased flooding and inundation.

Assateague Island

Assateague Island
Source: IAN Image Library

Regional Sediment Management

The management approach used at Ocean City and Assateague Island is regional sediment management, which considers the broad, long-term implications of coastal management decisions and aims to benefit a wide area.