News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Funds Boat Ramp Improvements In Wicomico County

Annapolis, Md. (July 15, 2010) —The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has partnered with Wicomico County to fund improvements to boat ramps in the cities of Sharptown and Salisbury. These projects will increase accessibility of boating opportunities for Maryland families while minimizing the impact of boating activities on waterways and other natural resources.

In Sharptown, improvements were made to the Cherry Beach boat ramp, which provides access to the Nanticoke River. The project included engineering and construction for a parking lot expansion to improve vehicle and boat trailer parking for this popular boat ramp and beach area, as well as incorporation of bio-retention to filter storm water.

“With the economic challenges we face today, it is more important than ever to offer our citizens a safe, quality place of refuge and relaxation,” said Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt. “The expanded parking facilities at Cherry Beach will give many more of our residents and visitors easy access to the beautiful Nanticoke River at Sharptown.”

Using Waterway Improvement Funds, DNR provided $105,785 to the county for this project, which added roughly 15,000 square feet of parking to accommodate boats and trailers that use this popular location. Because the project was in the “critical area,” a special bio-retention area was created to hold and filter storm water on site, preventing oil and debris from entering the waterway and harming marine life. A dry swale was built next to the new parking to hold most rainwater or snow melt before it slowly returns to the river.

“The Commissioners of Sharptown would like to thank DNR for the support and excellent job performed on the Cherry Beach project,” said P. Douglas Gasnell, President of the Commissioners of Sharptown.

DNR and Wicomico County also contributed to efforts to repair the only public boat ramp on the Wicomico River in the city of Salisbury. Roughly 300 feet of deteriorated bulkhead was replaced to protect the boat ramp and parking area.

DNR’s Waterway Improvement Fund provided $92,897 towards the total cost of replacing the bulkhead, which was $120,850. This popular boat ramp, located in the center of Salisbury, is popular among boaters and anglers and will last for many years due to the recent reconstruction.

“Thanks to the DNR grant, we were able to make much-needed improvements to the only public boat ramp in the City of Salisbury,” said Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt. “The new bulkhead will assure many years of safe and convenient boat-launching activity on the Wicomico River.”

The Waterway Improvement Fund is funded through the five percent excise tax paid when boaters register a vessel in Maryland. The fund is administered at DNR and used to support grants to municipalities for projects that benefit the boating public such as installing and maintaining public boat ramps, maintaining aids to navigation and performing dredging. To learn more about the Waterway Improvement Fund or boating in Maryland, visit

   July 15, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at