‘Living Shoreline’ off Fenwick Approved, Includes Granite, Dune and Tidal Marsh


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More than a year after the waters of the Long Island Sound breached a sand dune offshore of Fenwick, the Lynde Point Land Trust living shoreline project was approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the local zoning commission.

The project will span 450 feet of coastline and include granite sills, new fill, tidal marsh creation, a restored dune with native plantings and a cobble beach in front of the property. The project will also relocate Crab Creek within the marsh in an attempt to prevent future damage to the dunes.

“The current tidal channel has aided erosion during multiple storm events, therefore we are going to relocate it,” said Dan Stapleton, the Senior Vice-President and Senior Principal at GZA, the company that designed the project. “This is not unusual, but it’s done here to create more space to create the new dune.”

Once completed, the project will be just the second living shoreline constructed in the state since the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection began promoting them in 2012 as an alternative to hardening the coastline.

Although the project will contain some rock elements – including the granite sill – Stapleton said he is confident the living shoreline will not negatively impact the adjacent coast in Old Saybrook.

“We used numerical wave models to model the conditions with the living shoreline features in place. We expect there to be a difference, but a difference that restore the former shoreline,” Stapleton said. “If you look at the historic shoreline within that stretch there this area has suffered substantial erosion likely due to other coastal structures that have changed the wave energy.”

The $250,000 project is funded with a $150,000 grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation and the support of the Lynde Point Land Trust, Connecticut Sea Grant, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, the Robert F. Schumann Foundation and the Borough of Fenwick.

The start date for construction has yet to be determined.