Sacred Heart University’s Biology Department, in collaboration with DuPont and the Connecticut Audubon Society (CAS), is beginning an innovative and experimental “living shoreline” installation at Stratford Point in Stratford, as part of a multi-year coastal habitat restoration project.
This project was reviewed and approved by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP), Office of Long Island Sound Programs and the Army Corps of Engineers. Work at the site was begun on May 1, 2014.
The Stratford Point experimental project is associated with SHU’s Environmental Science & Management science master’s program (ESM). The SHU team leading this restoration includes Biology professors Jennifer Mattei, Mark Beekey, John Rapaglia and LaTina Steele. According to Mattei, director of ESM, the experimental shoreline restoration involves multiple graduate and undergraduate students, includes community volunteers and public education outreach and provides SHU students with a long-term research project of critical importance to coastal erosion concerns.
Restoration efforts at Stratford Point, she stresses, have been under way since 2000. Stratford Point with 3000 feet of coastline is located on the Lordship peninsula of the Town of Stratford at the mouth of the Housatonic River Estuary and is surrounded on the south and west by Long Island Sound.
The site, a former gun club, has gone through extensive remediation which involved removing a large quantity of lead shot. During the remediation, most of the salt marsh, intertidal sediments and upland were excavated, processed to remove lead shot and replaced, leaving several acres devoid of coastal habitats.
“This type of restoration is the first of its kind in Connecticut. Upon completion, the site will comprise approximately one-half acre of coastal woodland, including a small freshwater pond, surrounding coastal grass and meadow mix with a dune system on the northeast side stabilized with beach grass,” said professor Mattei.
Press Release, May 9, 2014