D.C. Area 'Living' Shoreline Celebrated by Hoyer, Alice Ferguson Foundation, NOAA and NPS

Oct 12, 2010, 15:47 ET from Alice Ferguson Foundation from ,National Park Service

Restoration Project Touted as Example for Erosion/Protection Issues

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Park Service (NPS) came together today, alongside Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, to celebrate the nearly completed restoration of 2,800 feet of the Potomac River shoreline in Piscataway Park. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded site saved not only an important part of the area's ecosystem, but also local jobs, businesses and educational programs.

Prior to the restoration, the stretch of the Potomac, located in Maryland's Prince George's County, was eroding rapidly and at significant risk for complete loss of shoreline wave protection, area Native American burial grounds, and local jobs, as well as compromising the breeding grounds for crab and fish.

"Throughout the year, thousands of students come to AFF's Hard Bargain Farm to participate in environmental education activities," said Tracy Bowen, executive director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation.  "Nearly all of them visit Piscataway Park along the shoreline and across the wetlands. This restoration project allows them to continue to have access to the Bay for canoeing and other activities."

This $1.1M shoreline restoration project was one of only 50 selected from over 800 applications received by NOAA.  

"This project will help healthy, life-restoring water, fish, and wildlife return to the Potomac River's shores," said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator. "Through jobs built around restoring the environment, we can also help people and their families reconnect with the environment."

Funding for the design phase of the project was provided through a partnership between the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, and NOAA.  

"I am pleased to celebrate the completion of the Living Shoreline Project at Piscataway Park and want to thank the Alice Ferguson Foundation, the Park Service, NOAA, area residents and interested groups for their hard work and coordination on this project," stated Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD).  "The Living Shoreline Project is a true economic success story of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, directly impacting and sustaining 20 jobs here in Maryland and indirectly impacting many more through the local purchase of materials, goods, and services. And to those of us who know and appreciate the environmental, historical, and cultural significance of this park and the Potomac River, the legacy of the Living Shoreline Project will be felt long after our economy rebounds."

Residing within visible range of the nation's capital, the project serves as a model of innovative solutions to a number of shoreline erosion, development and protection issues. As the largest freshwater, tidal, high energy site living shoreline project in the region, the project site had unique requirement. While there are numerous methods that could harden the shoreline and limit erosion and land loss, many of those are neither "bay friendly" in terms of providing habitat, nor visually appealing.

To address these challenges, AFF and NOAA supported a new and innovated process as the stabilization solution.  A vegetated "living shoreline," using both structural and nonstructural techniques, was constructed on 2,800 feet of Potomac River shoreline. The project design uses a combination of sills, headland breakwater spurs and marsh creation to not only provide shore protection, but to maintain and enhance and/or create wetlands habitat.  Rock and sand were placed to create segmented breakwaters and sills that dampen wave energy.  Sand and plants will also recreate the tidal marsh.  

Along the North Coast, the project created 21,000 square feet of low tidal marsh and 50,450 square feet of scrub-shrub habitat. Along the South Coast, the project created 8,550 square feet of low tidal marsh and 10,350 square feet of scrub-shrub habitat.  Approximately 30 acres of freshwater marsh and swamp wetland were protected - 19 acres on the North Coast and 11 acres on the South Coast sections within the national park site.

"With partners including the Alice Ferguson Foundation, the National Capital Parks–East of the National Park Service, and NOAA, this project demonstrates the benefits of agencies and entities joining together to solve a problem and protect our nation's heritage and habitat concurrently," said National Park Service Director John Jarvis.  "Today is truly a celebration of partners, recovery, revitalization, and a glimpse at the future of coastal restoration."

About the Alice Ferguson Foundation

The Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) was established in 1954 as a non-profit organization chartered in the state of Maryland.  Its mission is to provide experiences that encourage connections between people, the natural environment, farming and the cultural heritage of the Potomac River Watershed, which lead to personal environmental responsibility.  AFF shares the wonder and excitement of the Potomac River, a 330-acre working farm (Hard Bargain Farm), woods and wetlands each year with more than 10,000 students from the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.  For more information, please visit www.fergusonfoundation.org.  

SOURCE Alice Ferguson Foundation; National Park Service