Saving Mersea Island harbour from erosion

Work to protect Mersea Harbour from erosion is officially underway. The Harbour is protected by islands that have been washing away for many years due to the rise in sea levels and storm wave action, increasingly so in recent years.

The project will see 98,000m3 of dredged sand and gravel from Harwich Harbour ‘recharged’ to locations on Cobmarsh Island, Packing Marsh Island and Old Hall Point in Mersea Quarters as well as at Shinglehead Point at Tollesbury Wick.

According to the Mersea Harbour Protection Trust, the recharged materials will slow down the erosion, ensuring that the harbour can remain active and usable, important wildlife sites and oyster beds are protected and waterfront properties will not come under threat from increasing storm wave action.

Brushwood fencing has been installed at two locations to ensure no material can move into any navigable channels.

Harwich Haven Authority photo

Harwich Haven Authority is funding much of the recharge project, up to around £1M.

The Environment Agency is contributing almost £300k towards the recharge costs as well as funding essential pre and post recharge monitoring.

“We are currently undertaking a nationally significant project, costing approximately £120m, to deepen the Harwich approach channel and inner harbour to -16m Chart Datum,” said Neil Glendinning, Chief Executive, Harwich Haven Authority.

“The recharge at Mersea Island is one of two beneficial placement projects we are supporting and funding as part of our larger channel deepening project in Harwich.”

Photo: Harwich Haven Authority