Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Norfolk is one step closer to being a more resilient city with this new project

An overview of the Barruad Park site location. (Courtesy of the city of Norfolk)

NORFOLK — The city has taken another step in its approach to increasing resilience, getting about $1.2 million in grant money from the National Coastal Resilience Fund.

The funds will go toward constructing the Lindenwood-Barraud Park Living Shoreline.

Matching funds will be provided through the city’s stormwater capital budget.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, launched the NCRF in 2018 to support on-the-ground projects that engage communities and reduce their vulnerability to growing risks from coastal storms, sea-level rise, flooding, erosion, wildfires, drought and extreme weather through strengthening natural ecosystems that also benefit fish and wildlife, according to a news release from the city.

The city has been identifying ways to combine regulatory water quality requirements and assess community needs to include things like flood reduction, neighborhood quality, recreational access, and wildlife habitat.

The grant will be used to improve the shoreline to support storm resilience, reduce erosion, enhance water quality, and restore marsh and forest habitat.

Improvements will be made to the Lafayette River waterfront of the Lindenwood community and a portion of the Barraud Park open space.

The project will include a hybrid living shoreline and an expansion of the riparian buffer.

“Grant funding gives us the flexibility to implement pilot projects we’ve been researching, planning and preparing for in the field instead of just entertaining ideas on paper,” said Justin Shafer, environmental engineer with Public Works. “We’re constantly looking at opportunities for large-scale shoreline restoration and green infrastructure projects to tackle problems such as flooding. For example, the city is looking at opportunities to construct a stormwater wetland next to the Hague to assist with water quality goals.”

City officials said the existing shoreline is heavily eroding in places, particularly along a steep section behind Lindenwood Elementary School.

This erosion currently threatens city infrastructure, destroys wildlife habitats and releases pollutants into the Lafayette River, officials said.

The project will restore 1.68 acres of tidal wetland and three acres of upland forest, according to the news release.

Nearly a half mile of rock sill will protect these features and improve resilience during future storm events.

Construction of the Lindenwood-Barraud Park Living Shoreline meets goals of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Resilience Strategy, and recently adopted Green Infrastructure Plan.

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