March 9, 2012
Coastal Land Trust and partners plan
project to stop erosion at Springer’s Point

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust will begin work this spring on a natural shoreline restoration project, known as a “Living Shoreline,” at its popular nature preserve on Ocracoke Island.

“Springer’s Point is an ecological and cultural gem for locals and visitors alike,” said Lee Leidy, attorney and Northeast Region Director of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, which owns and manages the 122-acre nature preserve. “Unfortunately, the shoreline at the preserve no longer functions like a natural shore system, and areas that previously served as an important buffer to the maritime forest are now eroded.”

The Living Shoreline project focuses on restoring approximately 500 feet of shoreline near Old Slough. 

“Living shorelines are alternatives to bulkheads that protect eroding shorelines while creating important estuarine habitat,” said Erin Fleckenstein, Northeast Coastal Scientist with the North Carolina Coastal Federation.  

An oyster bag sill will be placed offshore and parallel to the existing marsh to create a living breakwater, which will allow a natural aquatic ecosystem to form. The area between the oyster bag sill and the shoreline will then be planted with native marsh grasses. 

The goal is that the sill will buffer wind and wave-driven erosion so that the shore can accrete and build naturally.  At the same time, maintenance work on the existing jetty will also be carried out.
The Coastal Land Trust has contracted with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, which has completed more than 20 “Living Shoreline” projects at locations on the coast, including state parks, to design and implement the project. 

“These projects offer the opportunity to combine shoreline protection with habitat creation for estuarine organisms. We are excited to partner with the Coastal Land Trust to protect the shoreline at Springer’s Point,” said Fleckenstein.  

“Springer’s Point is very important to Ocracoke and the Outer Banks, so we are grateful but not surprised that so many in the community have stepped forward to help,” said Lee Leidy.  

Local fisherman will help bag the oyster shell and build the oyster bag sill, and contractors from Hatteras and Wanchese will assist with the maintenance work on the jetty. Volunteers from local schools and the community will be recruited to assist with the planting of marsh grass.

The Coastal Land Trust plans to begin the restoration work as soon as possible, but no later than this month, and hopes to complete the marsh grass plantings by the end of May.  

If necessary, the Coastal Land Trust will temporarily close the preserve to visitors for safety reasons and to promote the success of the project.  The preserve is currently open and will be open this summer.

Funding for the Living Shoreline project at Springer’s Point Preserve is being provided by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Partnership between the NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program and Restore America’s Estuaries, and by private donations to North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. 

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust works with landowners in North Carolina to save the lands at the coast for the benefit of all North Carolinians.  Since 1992, the trust has helped save more than 48,000 acres of land in 22 coastal counties of the state.  The Coastal Land Trust has offices in Elizabeth City, Wilmington, and New Bern.  

More information about the Living Shoreline project at Springer’s Point and about North Carolina Coastal Land Trust is available at

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