Perfect sailing weather awaited the Old Dominion University sailing team, but they chose instead to remain ashore on the banks of the Elizabeth River — just long enough to celebrate the grand opening of their new sailing pier.
Flanked by friends and guests, ODU officials and its project partners, Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Norfolk, cut the ribbon on the new sailing pier water access project and companion Elizabeth River Wetlands Restoration project.
Bob Finney, ODU vice president for Administration and Finance, told the audience that this project completion was special because it tied into the university’s weeklong “Blue goes Green” celebration, which focused on the school’s many environmentally-friendly initiatives.
“This project couldn’t have been completed without the dedication and commitment of our Norfolk District and city of Norfolk partners,” Finney said. “Together, we’ve completed a special project that’s worthy of the other great efforts over the years to restore the health and vitality of the Elizabeth River.”
Lt. Col. David Fedroff, Norfolk District deputy commander said restoring the health of the river depended on cooperation among partners; local universities; federal, state, regional and local agencies; civic groups and organizations.
The ODU Drainage Canal Wetland Restoration project is located on the main branch of the Elizabeth River within the city of Norfolk. The project is part of a much larger Elizabeth River environmental initiative that began in 1993 with four folks sitting around a kitchen table discussing ways to clean-up their beloved river.
That gathering produced the Elizabeth River Project, the grassroots non-profit organization that today has morphed into a multi-million dollar public-private venture that is steadily restoring the health of the Elizabeth River.
The Norfolk District has long partnered with ERP to make their vision to restore the river a reality. In 1998, at the urging of the ERP, Norfolk District gained Congressional approval to form a project delivery team to formulate and conduct an environmental restoration study to restore the health of the Elizabeth River. The PDT included five cost-sharing sponsors: the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the four cities on the banks of the Elizabeth River: Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
The award-winning study produced an environmental restoration plan that included the use of environmental dredging to remove contaminated river sediment and construction of wetland areas for habitat restoration.
The ODU Drainage Canal Wetland Restoration project constructed two stone breakwaters to create a protected area for nearly an acre of wetlands restoration, and a check dam at the mouth of the stormwater canal to control sedimentation. The funding for this phase of the project came from the federal government and the city of Norfolk.
An additional project feature included the rehabilitation of the existing revetments along the golf course and ODU shoreline, and the construction of a timber pier, gangway and floating pier at the ODU Sailing Center. This was funded by ODU and the city of Norfolk.
The ODU Drainage Canal Wetland Restoration project was designed by Andrews, Miller and Associates of Cambridge, Md., with construction performed by Polu Kai Construction Company of Falls Church, Va., a Service-Disabled Veterans small business.
Dredging Today Staff, April 26, 2012; Image: usace