WILLIAMSBURG — A months-long project to preserve and protect the shoreline of Chickahominy Riverfront Park from erosion is wrapping up.
The project, which began construction in September 2020, worked to establish living shorelines along the Chickahominy River and Gordon Creek, including breakwater and beach nourishment.
James City County Board of Supervisors approved the $1,450,049 last July to put towards the project. Additional funds from the Virginia Environmental Endowment, part of the James River Water Quality Improvement Fund, and the Capital Improvements Program budget contributed financially to the project.
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Carolina Marine Structures, Inc. was selected to complete the project.
Construction of the actual shoreline had to start in September due to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission wetland permit containing a “Time of Year Restrictions” that prohibits work in the water from Feb. 15 to Sept. 15 each year.
The actual living shoreline involves using breakwater and beach nourishment on the west side of the park along the Chickahominy River instead of a bulkhead, which allows for a more natural and environmentally-friendly alternative to preventing shoreline erosion.
Along Gordon Creek, which is on the north side, the project created a marsh and used coir logs and rock marsh sills to stabilize the area. The project also incorporates approximately 0.75 acres of riparian buffer enhancement and creation. Locations where bald cypress trees are present along the toe of existing banks will be preserved and expanded with marsh creation wherever feasible.
According to Barry Moses, Capital Projects Coordinator for James City County, the end date for the construction is by the end of this month.
“Some items have arisen in the final review of the survey that will extend beyond that date but, should not impact much of the park area use. County personnel are assessing the condition of the areas impacted by the project as the stabilization takes root in order to determine which areas can be reopened to the public,” he wrote in an email.
He added March 2021 was discussed as a completion date, but the weather did not cooperate with plans.
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