OXFORD STRAND BEACH AND SURROUNDING AREA IMPROVEMENTS
Due to sea level rise and increasing storm intensity, this area of Oxford has taken a beating over the last many years raising multiple concerns, from the continuation of one of Oxford’s most valued assets, its historic sandy beach, to protection of critical public infrastructure, including the road, water, sewer, electricity, telephone and cable, the ability to provide emergency services during tidal and storm events and the ability to protect historic residential and commercial properties from the encroaching waters.
Over the last 10 years the frequency and intensity of flooding events has eroded the shoreline, increasing the threat to the necessary infrastructure along this road.
Oxford has spent the last 10 years seriously investigating its ongoing environmental, stormwater, floodplain and sea-level rise issues. The Strand Beach is just one of the areas the town has been seeking design and construction funding in order to build upon the town’s resilience. In 2018 the town applied to the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s COASTAL RESILIENCE PROGRAM and was awarded design funding for the northern area of the town, running the length of the Strand Road, including the Strand Beach, Strand Parking lot, Ferry Dock Parking Lot and the beaches at the end of West Strand. This program includes phased opportunities for funding to include construction funds following design and permitting.
In coordination with the town’s partners in this project, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Coastal Restoration Services, the National Wildlife Federation and the awarded engineering firm, Underwood and Associates, the town has developed designs that will incorporate natural marshy areas to act as breakwaters in protecting the Strand, along with dunes to prevent waters from overrunning the road and is currently submitting these designs for permitting review by state and federal agencies for future construction.
These designs provide nature based improvements that will allow the sandy beach areas to not only maintain their position for public use, but will also allow for accretion of sand overtime, as opposed to our current loss of sand due to erosion.
Moving forward the town will seek the next phase of implementation funding from the MD DNR Coastal Resilience Program and is currently seeking matching funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Coastal Resilience Fund, along with preparing to apply to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for additional assistance. Construction of the improvements will be proposed in phases as the town is able to access funds, with the proposed first phase being the Strand Beach and then West Strand; the Strand Parking Lot, Ferry Dock Parking Lot, TAYC, and Sandaway Shoreline would follow as the town was able to apply for additional funding.