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Oriental Begins Living Shoreline Project

Erosion of the Whittaker Pointe shoreline since 1964. Image: Google Earth

Construction has begun on a living shoreline at Whittaker Pointe peninsula in Oriental.

More than 15 acres of the peninsula’s shoreline that defends nearly 300 structures against the waves and surge from the Neuse River during storms and routine high wind events has eroded. Erosion has accelerated in recent years because of several hurricanes including Florence and Michael.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation announced Friday that work is underway to install the living shoreline to protect the peninsula from future storm damage and restore lost marsh habitat. A living shoreline is an environmentally friendly shoreline stabilization techniques that help reduce shoreline erosion while protecting and restoring valuable salt marsh and oyster habitat at the same time.

The living shoreline is designed to slow down and reduce the impacts of waves, leading to the restoration of the marsh habitat that was lost and reducing further erosion. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

Area geologist Jim Blackerby and brought the issue to town officials, residents, businesses and the federation. Blackerby previously worked with the federation to build a living shoreline to address erosion along several areas of Oriental waterfront.

“The North Carolina Coastal Federation brings to the table a unique expertise that blends the public needs with habitat restoration,” said Blackerby.

Construction of the granite sill living shoreline at Whittaker Pointe begins. Photo: Jim Blackerby.

Town Manager Diane Miller, Blackerby and Lisa Thompson, Harbor Waterfronts Advisory Committee chair and manager and dockmaster of Sea Harbour Yacht Club, worked with federation coastal scientist Lexia Weaver to secure funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation National Coastal Resilience Fund to build a living shoreline for a portion of the peninsula.

Miller secured matching funds from the Golden Leaf Foundation, the state Department of Environmental Quality and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program to build the living shoreline along the entire length of the peninsula.

A closeup of Whittaker Pointe’s eroding shoreline. Photo: North Carolina Coastal Federation

“The Town is extremely grateful to the partners who have signed on to assist with the restoration of the Whittaker Pointe shoreline, and is excited about the progress already being made on the construction. We look forward to enjoying the protection afforded residential and commercial properties and the enhanced environment for fish and other wildlife that will once again make the restored Pointe their home,” said Miller.

Quible & Associates P.C. from Powells Point, designed the living shoreline with structural engineering support from Gary Greene Engineers from Raleigh.

“The project team has been incredibly impressed by the firms’ knowledge, skills and professionalism throughout the project,” said Weaver. “We are confident that the design will result in a stronger and more productive shoreline.”

Carolina Marine Structures, also from Powells Point, is building the living shoreline using granite rocks placed parallel to the peninsula’s shoreline.

The granite from Wake Stone Corp. is being transported to the site by Double A Hauling Inc. Loose and bagged recycled oyster shells will also be placed by volunteers and Restoration Systems to protect the Whittaker Creek side of the peninsula.

The site will be planted with native grasses and sedges.

About the Author

Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.