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Construction of three new living shoreline sills underway near NC Coastal Federation Wanchese office

With funding secured from the Honda Marine Science Foundation, the North Carolina Coastal Federation initiated construction on three new living shoreline sills near their office in the Wanchese Marine Industrial Park. Local contractor Total Marine Services is building the sills.

The federation works to promote the use of living shorelines as effective and environmentally-friendly solutions that reduce sound-side erosion and provide coastal habitat. There are a range of techniques that can be considered for a living shoreline project, including protecting salt marsh and restoring oysters.

To limit erosion and support the marsh complex in the Wanchese Marine Industrial Park, the federation will complete construction on a series of five living shoreline sills — low-profile barriers made from stone, shells and other materials — to provide shoreline stabilization and protection.

Three new living shorelines sills, totaling 100-ft., will be constructed from wood, granite and oyster castle material. These three will be added to the existing two sills on site. The existing sills are constructed from oyster shell bags and oyster domes, respectively, and also measure one hundred feet each, installed back in 2018.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to showcase a variety of living shoreline techniques that will protect the Wanchese marsh complex and provide an opportunity for shoreline property owners to see these techniques in person,” said Erin Fleckenstein, a coastal scientist and regional manager for the federation.

The wooden sill and granite sills were completed in early June. The oyster castle sill will be completed by mid-July.

By completing this demonstration of five techniques, the federation will create a place for soundfront property owners to visit where they can see a variety of living shoreline techniques on display. The 500-foot “Living Shorelines Demonstration” will aim to combat erosion, improve water quality and provide an outdoor living laboratory for visitors.

“When we are able to host in-person trainings again, I look forward to using the Wanchese demonstration site to train real estate professionals and contractors on the variety of techniques that qualify as living shorelines,” said Whitney Jenkins, training coordinator for the Division of Coastal Management. “Having five techniques on display in one easy to access area will provide a practical learning opportunity for these professionals that attend our trainings.”

Completing this demonstration project complements other work the federation is doing to advance the use of living shorelines in North Carolina.

The federation is currently administering cost-share grant funds from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund to encourage the use of living shorelines. The grant allows the federation to pay for up to half the cost, or $5,000 (project cap), towards the installation of a living shoreline project.

They have cost-shared on a number of projects throughout North Carolina and expect to award additional projects in the coming year. Projects are awarded on a first come, first serve basis and must meet minimum requirements for marsh creation or protection.

Recently, the N.C. Division of Coastal Management in coordination with other state and federal agencies revised the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) General Permit for marsh sills. The amended general permit now makes the process of obtaining a living shoreline permit quicker and simpler.

For more information on the revised general permit, visit https://www.nccoast.org/project/advocating-living-shorelines/.

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