Help Restore CT Living Shoreline on Earth Day
Become Part of the Solution
Sacred Heart University biology professor Jennifer Mattei has secured environmentally responsible grant funding for the expansion of a project to reverse erosion and enhance fish and wildlife habitat along a section of Connecticut's shoreline.
Help is needed to fund the next phase of the shoreline restoration. Please join Professor Mattei to celebrate an Earth Day Project on April 22nd, 2018 at Stratford Point.The goal behind this event is to restore the natural habitats of the shoreline that have been degraded after years of abuse. To do this, volunteers will continue to plant marsh grass. The funds raised from this campaign will allay the costs associated with our Earth Day project of restoring the shoreline. These costs include the purchase of salt marsh grass plugs (Spartina alterniflora ), trees, shrubs, and native wildflowers needed for the project. The funding could also go towards the costs of volunteer lunches throughout the weekend, and other project related expenses. The event will take place at Stratford Point in Stratford, CT on April 22, 2018. Volunteers are welcome to come and offer time over the course of the weekend to the project. School groups are also welcome to attend with teachers on Monday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To register as a volunteer for the Earth Day project please click here or for more information contact Professor Mattei (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sacred Heart University takes Steps to Revitalize Connecticut Shoreline
Professor Jennifer Mattei with faculty colleagues and students have partnered with Audubon Connecticut (conservation stewards) and the DuPont Company (land owners) of Stratford Point to install Connecticut’s first ‘living shoreline’ to restore coastal habitats to maintain their resiliency and function in the face of climate change. Two years ago, a pilot project was installed using 64 cement reef balls, each weighing 1,500 pounds and measuring three feet by four feet. As a result of these structures, in just two years, sand deposits rose 12 inches both behind and in some areas in front of the reef. In one year, the planted saltmarsh grasses doubled in size.
With success came the need for expansion. That’s now underway, with financial support from the Audubon Connecticut’s In-Lieu Fee Program (ILFP), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF), the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) and DuPont.
The project team purchased and installed 273 reef balls needed to protect another 750 feet of Stratford Point shoreline. The artificial reef protects the shore from erosion and will protect the newly planted grasses. In addition to restoring the lower and upper marsh habitats along the length of the living shoreline, the team will also install a mosaic of dune/grassland habitats above the upper marsh. DuPont has donated the land to the State so that it will be preserved for the wildlife and never be developed. Audubon CT will assist Sacred Heart University's team with numerous volunteer hours for education, outreach, maintenance and monitoring the use of the new habitats by birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
“The living shoreline is working beautifully, stopping erosion and allowing sediments to be deposited on the cobble beach,” Mattei said. “The marsh grasses are growing in faster and taller than an adjacent area planted at the same time without the protective reef. We are extremely grateful to our partners for their support of this project. Without their generosity, it wouldn’t be possible.”