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Ocean City Spending Millions To Protect Beaches From Erosion

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Ocean City is investing millions to replenish its beaches of sand that has washed away.

Ava-joye Burnett explains why city leaders say this is about much more than just pumping in sand.

The beach is at the center of Ocean City's economy, but after a major nor'easter went up the coast in 2016, the city is having to replenish one of its prime resources.

Sand is washing away in Ocean City, as officials say the level of erosion is so concerning.

They've decided to pump in more sand to replenish the beach -- a full year before its normal cycle.

Experts blame the expedited erosion on the record setting nor' easter in January of 2016, which dumped snow west of the bay.

But caused persistent winds and high tide eastward in Ocean City.

"So where a hurricane comes through and hits you and leaves, a nor easter, why it's not as severe, it hangs around for a longer time and that's what Jonas was for us," says Terry McGean, Ocean City Engineer.

According to Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan, the project in Ocean City could prevent more than $900-million in damages to ocean front properties.

"From those properties, the taxes and the tourist industry, it is significant, so if there was ever a poster child for beach replenishment, Ocean City is it," says Mayor Meehan.

So this fall, engineers will start pumping in the sand to shore up the beach, but only closing about three blocks at a time.

According to our media partner the Baltimore Sun, the 900,000 cubic yards of sand -- which is enough to fill about 300 Olympic-sized pools will cost $12.7 million.

The city's engineer will work with the Army Corp of Engineers to complete this project.

"What happens is we become then more and more susceptible to storm damage, so you can consider the dune and the beach, that's out levy system in Ocean City," says McGean.

The mayor says the project will happen off peak season, so that's after Labor Day this year, and before next summer.

City officials say funding for this project will come from multiple sources.

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