MONEY POINT restoration

Major projects like these have helped us restore miles of polluted river bottom, shoreline, and wildlife habitat. But we’ve still got miles to go. Do Something Beautiful. Join the Elizabeth River Project.

Multi Million-Dollar Clean Up Brings New Life To Money Point

the challenge

Located in an industrial area not far from Military Highway on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, Money Point was biologically cashed out by 2006. Once home to several large wood treatment plants, the river bottom at Money Point was covered feet-thick with oily creosote – a black tar used to treat everything from telephone poles to shipping docks to railroad ties. The river bottom – the foundation of the food chain – was dead. What little marine life remained at Money Point was prone to alarming levels of cancer. It was one of the most contaminated on the Chesapeake Bay. 

The Problem at Money Point

10k Parts
per million pollution levels
20 acres

of river bottom
$10 million
initial project cost

Our River:

the project

Cleaning up Money Point was going to take, well, money. Lots of it. So when shipping company Maersk-APM wanted to develop a new port facility up river, we worked with regulators to offset the impacts of that expansion by directing $5 million in environmental mitigation funds toward the clean-up effort at Money Point. Thanks to the generous contributions of our members, donors and private partners, the $10 million Goo Must Go campaign to dredge the contaminated river bottom was completed in six years. Guided by expert scientists and technical support, the restoration relied heavily on the cooperation of Money Point’s industrial landowners, who ultimately became such champions of the river clean-up, they added complementary projects of their own. We think that’s beautiful.

Read the Full Money Point Restoration Plan:

New Life For A "Dead" River:

26 new
fish species
110 bird

species documented
1 family 

of otters


The Money Point Restoration Project represents the nation’s first large-scale sediment remediation project completed by a non-profit organization. It includes 7 acres of lush new tidal marsh, a 3-acre oyster reef, a new forested upland shoreline, and the first-known “living cap” to isolate contaminated sediments and provide critical wetland and oyster habitat. The restoration work is also helping to control tidal and stormwater flooding on area roadways. Cancer levels in fish have returned to normal levels, and researchers have recorded over 26 species of fish, 110 different bird species and at least one otter family at Money Point. In 2019, the project received one of four “Best Restored Shore” awards from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

There’s still more to do!​

The Living River Trust, the Elizabeth River Project and many partners worked together to clean up two areas of Money Point contamination with amazing results. Now, one more area of severe contamination that exceeded the original budget is on our radar to be cleaned up next. With your help, Elizabeth River Project hopes to leverage federal funding through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the final clean up at Money Point. Stay with us!

Youth Water Monitoring Results

Entry Data

MM slash DD slash YYYY

Sample Data



Drop files here or
Accepted file types: jpg, png, heic, tiff, Max. file size: 256 MB.
    Add any field observation photos here