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Potomac River Living Shoreline Project gets another financial boost

WOODBRIDGE — Dominion Energy today donated another $35,000 to the Living Shorelines Project at Leesylvania State Park.

Company officials joined Chief Park Ranger Karen Lambey on the Potomac River shoreline in Woodbridge to present the check.

“This project is very important to us, and anytime we have an opportunity to help with these environmental projects, we like to do so,” said Deborah Tompkins Johnson, with Dominion.

The latest donation brings Dominion Energy’s contribution effort to about $100,000, she added.

So far in the $500,000 effort to preserve the shoreline, two and a half large stone sills have been built off the shoreline of Leesylvania State Park to protect the land, plants, and aquatic life from waves, boat wake. The sills also stop beachline erosion and allow native grasses to take root and grow to better hold in place the shoreline.

A small area of standing water separates the shore from the rock sills.

“We’ve seen fish lay eggs, and find safety from predators in the standing water areas,” said Lambey.

One and a half more sills still need to be installed for a total of four for the project to be complete. The encompasses 25 feet of shoreline and will be completed two years from now.

Over the past 20 years, Leesylvania has seen 25 feet or more of erosion on its shoreline.

“There’s a drop off here where there wasn’t one before,” said Lambey, while standing on a trail overlooking the river at the park’s Potomac Beach picnic area.

A construction barrier and no trespassing signs mark the project and help to keep people out of the work area and off of the new tall river grasses that have taken root along the beach as part of the project.

In the past, stone-filled wire gabion baskets were set along the shoreline to protect from erosion. However, water from the river has seeped in behind the gabion baskets making them less effective.

In the past, stone-filled wire gabion baskets were set along the shoreline to protect from erosion. However, water from the river has seeped in behind the gabion baskets making them less effective.

New studies have shown the rock sills are a better way to protect the shoreline, said Lambey. The Living Shoreline Project at Leesylvania is a model project that could one day be implemented at other state parks along the Potomac like Mason Neck, Caledon, and the soon-to-open Widewater State Park in Stafford County.

An upcoming tour at the park on Sept. 10 will focus on the Living Shoreline Project.

About 600,000 people visited Leesylvania State Park in 2016.

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