The 2020 winners are:
- Stratford Point Living Shoreline, CT
- Gandy’s Beach Preserve Adaptive Management, NJ
- Restoration of Cooks Beach, NJ
Stratford Point Living Shoreline, Connecticut
The Stratford Point Living Shoreline is an outstanding example of how to work with multiple partners and nature to solve some of our most difficult human-caused coastal degradation problems. This project clearly demonstrates the importance of shellfish reefs in the protection of newly restored saltmarsh and their role allowing time for marsh migration to occur as sea levels rise and storms increase. Especially noteworthy were its well-characterized objectives, long-term monitoring plan that demonstrated success, and the multiple funding partners involved in taking the project from concept to execution that achieved real environmental and coastal resilience outcomes.
Gandy’s Beach Preserve Adaptive Management, New Jersey
The Gandy’s Beach Preserve Adaptive Management (AM) project demonstrates an innovative approach for shoreline stability and passive nourishment. By working with natural processes (wave energy regime and nearshore currents), the shoreline may become more resilient, helping to ensure continued ecological function and ecosystem services. The project’s monitoring demonstrated a need for AM, and will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the AM. This project demonstrates a new tactic for bayshore communities and environmental entities to use for shoreline management.
Restoration of Cooks Beach, New Jersey
The Cooks Beach project creatively restored a shoreline so that it could continue to be a source of sand to other area beaches while retaining sufficient sediment to provide critical spawning habitat for horseshoe crabs and red knots, a federally-listed threatened migratory bird. Monitoring revealed that of all eight beaches recently restored in Delaware Bay, Cooks Beach is now most used by foraging shorebirds, including red knot, due in large part to the availability of horseshoe crab eggs in surrounding shoals and on its now-protected beach face.
- Virginia Point Wetland Protection Project, Texas
- Mississippi River Long Distance Sediment Pipeline, Louisiana
- Money Point Shoreline Restoration, Virginia
- Mispillion Living Shoreline Project, Delaware
In less than two years following construction, the Virginia Point Wetland Protection Project, Texas, provided multiple benefits for Texas tallgrass coastal prairie, a rapidly disappearing habitat that supports a vast number of wildlife and marine life, including birds, crabs, shrimp and oysters. Its undulating breakwater maintains the characteristic beauty of the site while stabilizing the shoreline and trapping sediment to support expansion of wetlands.
Funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, U.S. Department of the Interior’s Coastal Impact Assistance Program, and the Texas General Land Office’s Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act Program, the project represents a successful partnership between SCENIC GALVESTON (an environmental nonprofit), the General Land Office, AECOM (a global engineering consultant with a Houston-based design and construction oversight team), and Apollo (a Texas-based construction contractor).
The Mississippi River Long Distance Sediment Pipeline, Louisiana, project implemented by Moffatt & Nichol for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, reinforced the Bayou Dupont shoreline with earthen ridges and intertidal mudflats to restore the area’s hydrology and waterfowl, fisheries, and other wildlife habitats. These re-created historic features also act as natural buffers from tides and storm surge for residents of flood prone areas in the Barataria basin, near New Orleans.
The sophisticated modeling, design, and construction of this project demonstrated the viability of a new sediment delivery approach that advanced large-scale wetland restoration utilizing a renewable sediment source from the Mississippi River. Through the design of the sediment pipeline corridor, what originally started off as an approximately a 400-acre marsh creation project, created the foundation for creating nearly 1,100 acres of marsh habitat along the critically degraded upper Barataria Land Bridge.
The Money Point Shoreline Restoration, Virginia, is the nation’s first large-scale sediment remediation project completed by a not-for-profit – the Elizabeth River Project – and included the first known living cap design to isolate contaminated sediments and provide critical wetland and oyster habitat. The Elizabeth River Project built trust with the industrial landowners who supported the project and worked with the federal and state agencies to assure the project would function as designed.
The results: A lush marsh with a resident otter family, cancer in the mummichog fish has dropped to background levels, over 26 species of fish feed from the marsh, oysters are growing on the reef and wetland sill structure, and a significant upland buffer is flourishing into a forest. Money Point demonstrates that restoration projects function best when the entirety of an ecological continuum is nursed back to life.
The Mispillion Living Shoreline Project, Delaware, has provided valuable information on the effectiveness of living shorelines not only to meet goals related to shoreline stabilization but objectives associated with shellfish-mediated water quality improvements. Five years of robust project monitoring by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) yielded valuable information regarding how quickly living shorelines can produce clean water benefits, which can be vital information for agencies that regulate water quality. The project demonstrates the advantage of this new approach for shoreline designers, builders, and the public.
At the Mispillion site, the project team assessed water filtration and nutrient removal by oysters and ribbed mussels as the animals colonized and grew on the installed materials. The work that PDE performed in collaboration with partners at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, as well as the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor, highlights the value of robust monitoring efforts. Due to the success of the original project installed between 2014 and 2016, a secondary effort to expand the living shoreline began in 2018, and PDE is pursuing additional funding to sustain the monitoring into at least 2022.