We collaborated with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on a novel approach to barrier island stabilization
Cedar Island is one of the most low-lying, dynamic, and rapidly eroding islands along the Virginia barrier-island chain. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s (VIMS) ultimate goal was to enhance the resiliency of Cedar Island, a protected habitat, as well as the Town of Wachapreague located nearby, which would benefit from the barrier island’s protection. VIMS led our collaborative team—a group of Stantec consultants alongside experts from multiple universities—to develop recommendations for a marsh along the bayside of the island. They wanted to provide a platform that would enable the island to stabilize and grow laterally and vertically, while it continues to undergo natural barrier island migration.
The preliminary plans and specifications proposed over 200 acres (80 hectares) of high and low marsh which would be planted with native, desirable marsh grasses. The result will lead to a complete, contiguous back barrier marsh habitat for southern Cedar Island that allows for natural barrier island rollover and enhanced resilience against storm events and continued sea level rise.
Hydrodynamic modeling of the proposed marsh is currently underway to demonstrate its expected performance, including better definition of the protection it would provide to the mainland. The results of the modeling and design will be used by project partners to solidify stakeholder support and secure funding for final implementation.
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