Living Shoreline at Sassafras Landing Completed!

Frankford, DE – A living shoreline project near the boat ramp at Sassafras Landing, in the Assawoman Wildlife Area has been completed. The living shoreline at Sassafras Landing will serve as one of the Center for the Inland Bays living shoreline demonstration sites. These projects showcase a variety of living shoreline techniques, enhance wetland habitat, and provide opportunities to educate the public and marine contractors on the ecological benefits of installing a living shoreline.

living shoreline, center for the inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
Before filling in the area behind the rocks with sand.

Living Shorelines are nature-based tactics for shoreline stabilization and habitat protection and creation. Engineered using native plant material, shellfish, sand, and some hard structures, living shorelines prevent erosion, reduce wave energy, trap floating sediment, and filter stormwater runoff– all while maintaining natural beaches or wetlands that provide habitat for horseshoe crabs, diamondback terrapins, fish, and other wildlife. Ultimately, the use of natural materials and native plants can improve local water quality. Therefore, living shorelines provide many benefits compared to hard infrastructures such as bulkheads and riprap, while providing similar protection against erosion. 

living shoreline, center for the inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
Oyster shells from partner Don’t Chuck Your Shucks Restaurants were bagged and used in the living shoreline project

Bob Collins, the Center’s Program Manager, described the importance of this living shoreline project. “A thin berm of upland separating 35 Acre Pond, a freshwater impoundment, and Miller Creek, a tributary of Little Assawoman Bay, was eroding. If breached, the freshwater impoundment would have been infiltrated with salty water. This would have eliminated freshwater aquatic plants that serve as a food source for migrating waterfowl. A low rock sill was installed about 30 feet into Miller Creek, and the area between the sill and the eroding berm was filled with sand and planted with salt marsh grasses. As a result, 13,000 square feet of salt marsh habitat was created as a buffer for boat wakes and storms.”  

living shoreline, center for the inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
Prior to installing the living shoreline- this area was suffering from extreme erosion
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Staff from the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays with the assistance of Center volunteers and staff from and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Division of Fish and Wildlife worked together to implement this project. A grant from DNREC’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Program partially funded the work. Consultants from Cardno provided design and construction management services. 

living shoreline, center for the inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
The installation of the rock sill, the area behind these rocks was filled with sand and planted with native grasses, creating 13,000 square feet of salt marsh habitat

Natural shorelines provide protection to coastal communities and also serve as an important habitat for native animals. Projects such as the Sassafras Landing living shoreline are a natural solution to benefit the bays and help educate the general public of their importance. 

living shoreline, center for the inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
Planting day at Sassafras Landing shoreline completion

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the Center works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed. 

living shoreline, center for the inland bays, delaware, sussex county,
Planting Day Sassafras Landing

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