W3 Engineering receives award for its restoration project at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson, NC, restoring sensitive environmental and historically significant cultural resources.
WILMINGTON, NC – September 14, 2021 – W3 Engineering, a coastal and environmental engineering firm with expertise in coastal management, environmental planning, and engineering, received an award for Best Restored Shores from the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association ASBPA) for its work restoring sensitive environmental and historically significant cultural resources at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson (BTFA), NC.
With the increase in shoreline erosion from numerous factors including flooding, increased storm severity, rising sea levels, and various other consequences of human interference in the ecosystem, the need for coastal communities to become more resilient and limit the impact from these forces, proper attention and investment is needed to help protect coastal communities and grow their economies.
ASBPA recognizes the importance of restoring natural coastal infrastructure given its critical role in protecting coastal communities and their economies. ASPBA established its Best Restored Shores awards program to recognize and encourage more effective coastal risk management that successfully restores natural infrastructure and addresses these increasing threats.
“We are grateful to the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association for recognizing the Brunswick Town/ Fort Anderson (BTFA) with its ‘Best Restored Shores’ award. The impact of escalating weather events and any negative consequences of human activities in coastal areas is becoming an increasing threat to coastal communities, our shorelines, and the ecosystems that thrive in those environments. It will be increasingly critical to develop new and innovative solutions to mitigate the fallout from these forces,” said Randy Boyd, Principal, W3 Engineering and Atlantic Reefmaker.
“Coastal communities need to creatively adapt to changing conditions. The Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson (BTFA), NC project demonstrates how innovative thought processes, design, and materials result in projects that improve resilience to benefit people and the environment every day,” said Shannon Cunniff, co-chair of ASBPA’s Best Restored Shores Award committee.
BTFA experienced increasing erosion along the site’s river shoreline and coastal resources due to the widening of the Cape Fear River to accommodate large vessels to the Port of Wilmington to create a ship passing lane in front of the BTFA historical site. Constant tide forces and dynamic wave action were bombarding the colonial-era wharves and washing important historical artifacts into the Cape Fear River and destroying valuable natural coastal resources. Coastal erosion was accelerating and quickly uncovered and destroyed three colonial-era wharves and damaged Civil War era earthwork batteries. Many other historical archaeological artifacts, like colonial shoe buckles and Spanish clothing, for example, were being washed away.
W3 Engineering recently completed Phase 3A of the BTFA stabilization and restoration projects, already completing Phases 1 and 2 with the Atlantic Reefmaker structure, an innovative water flow-through wave attenuation technology that dissipates wave energy in three ways: (1) wave energy reflects back into open water from the front face of the structure; (2) wave energy collisions occur along the sides of the octagonal structure; and, (3) water energy dissipates as it’s directed through the system.
Since the installations, the Atlantic Reefmaker has been challenged by consistent Verified Gross Weight (VGW) from port and sea bound vessels, high tide storm surge, pounding waves from Hurricane Florence, and persistent flooding of the structure for many weeks after the storm, other storms including Hurricane Isaias in August 2020 and numerous nor’easters. There was no damage to the structure.
The overall shoreline protection project exceeded expectations with respect to marsh restoration and marine life utilization of the area. Marsh is being restored behind the Phase 1 structure as material continues to accrete on the shoreline and improve water quality in the river as sediment is removed from the water column. The remanent Spartina alterniflora populations are expanding behind the Phase 1 structure. The structure provides habitat for oysters and barnacles to attach to the structure and grow. There has also been a notable increase in the blue crab population at the BTFA site.
About American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA)
ASBPA Advocating for Healthy Coastlines – is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and enhancing our coasts by merging science and public policy.