Construction began early this month on the first of three living shorelines along N.C. 24 between Cedar Point and Swansboro.
The combined $3.6 million project is a partnership with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, publisher of Coastal Review, and the state Department of Transportation, with support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The first 300-foot section of living shoreline is being built along two lots that the town of Cedar Point owns. Construction is by Native Shorelines, a Restoration Systems division previously called RS Shorelines, using the company’s proprietary QuickReef units. Work on the other two living shorelines, totaling an additional 1,345 feet, is expected to begin this fall.
This project is part of NCDOT’s efforts to make more than 500 miles of coastal roads resilient to storms using nature-based solutions, officials said.
Living shorelines are built to help improve resiliency against the effects of storm surge on the adjacent sidewalk and highway while protecting and restoring salt marsh and oyster habitat at the same time, according to the federation. The goal of this project is to naturally stabilize the shorelines, decrease wave and storm surge impacts, and provide habitat restoration and water quality enhancement, according to the Coastal Federation.
The initial idea began April 1, 2020, but was put on hold for a few months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time NCDOT program functions were suspended.
Federation Coastal Scientist Dr. Lexia Weaver said that the partnership with NCDOT is significant as it promotes an environmentally friendly option for protecting valuable infrastructure rather than the traditionally used bulkheads and seawalls that damage our coastal habitats.
“This project has been years in the making and we are excited to have a partner like NCDOT who values finding a nature-based solution to protecting this stretch of highway,” she said.