Chesapeake Shoreline Winner of Inaugural Best Restored Shore Award - Illustrates innovation in successful coastal restoration & resiliency
CHESAPEAKE – September 9, 2019 The Money Point Shoreline Restoration in Chesapeake, VA has been chosen as one of four coastal restoration projects to win top honors from the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) for successfully demonstrating creative solutions to eroding shores, rising seas, and degrading environmental conditions.
Located on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, the Money Point Shoreline Restoration is the nation’s first large-scale sediment remediation project completed by not-for-profits – the Elizabeth River Project and its sister Living River Restoration Trust, along with multiple community partners – and included the first known living cap design to isolate contaminated sediments and provide critical wetland and oyster habitat.
The results: The businesses adjacent to Money Point have reported reduced flooding, a lush marsh with a resident otter family, an increase from just four to 26 species of fish utilizing the marsh, over 110 documented bird species, oysters growing on the reef, and a significant upland buffer flourishing into a forest. Money Point demonstrates that restoration projects function best when the entirety of an ecological continuum is nursed back to life.
“Money Point is a model restoration for the world on how to clean up a contaminated site while also restoring a degraded shoreline. We have seen a reduction in fish cancer and increase in fish diversity in the new living shoreline. The success of this project was the result of a collaboration between industries, the City of Chesapeake, federal and state governments, Elizabeth River Project, Living River Restoration Trust, and many other partners,” says Joe Rieger, Elizabeth River Project Deputy Director of Restoration.
The Living River Restoration Trust provided the lead funding through $5 million set aside by the former APM Terminals to offset impacts to river bottom when a new terminal was constructed. The Elizabeth River Project managed the project, first building trust and broad cooperation with the industrial landowners who supported the project and added complementary projects of their own. Federal and state agencies and the City of Chesapeake also helped with related efforts, from federal grants to clean up of a contaminated ditch and construction of stormwater controls to prevent recontamination of the restored area.
Phil Stedfast, Operations Manager of Kinder Morgan Elizabeth River Terminals, adjacent to the Money Point project, says,“The design and construction of our wetlands has stood the passage of many severe weather and high tide events. It has been inundated by the tide in several storms, but it has always rebounded because of the resiliency of the plantings.”
ASBPA initiated the Best Restored Shore Award to recognize innovative shore restoration projects and to encourage other communities to undertake these efforts. “Continued public support for shore restoration is crucial to building coastal resiliency to storms and rising seas,” said ASBPA President Tony Pratt. “Successfully planning and implementing shoreline restoration projects can be challenging and too often their far-reaching economic benefits go unnoticed.”
Other winners include: Mispillion Living Shoreline Project, Delaware; Mississippi River Long Distance Sediment Pipeline, Louisiana; and Virginia Point Wetland Protection Project, Texas.
Living shorelines are the state of Virginia’s preferred approach to shoreline erosion protection. As opposed to hardened structures like rip rap and bulkheads, these techniques can prevent shoreline erosion while maintaining the benefits to wildlife and water quality (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality).