Living shoreline project underway at Fort Macon

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WITN) – Construction on a living shoreline in one state park in the east recently began in an effort to protect a historic fort.

Fort Macon State Park has faced constant pressure from waves, sea-level rise and a number of storms. It’s also been experiencing severe erosion, according to Park Ranger Benjamin Flemming.

Flemming and other park rangers have been working to try and find a solution.

“We wanted to do something natural and beneficial to help control that erosion not just a bulkhead or seawall and we are very fortunate to have this project underway,” Flemming said.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation joined in on the efforts to help the state park design a living shoreline that could fit all of its needs.

“The living shoreline at Fort Macon State Park is going to be 2,400 linear feet long and it’s going to be comprised of granite rocks that will be placed parallel to the shoreline and it’s going to create what is called a granite sill and that sill will help to reduce wave energy and storm surge,” said Dr. Lexia Weaver with the Coastal Federation.

Dr. Weaver said granite rock was chosen because of the amount of boat traffic and wave energy the area sees.

“A granite sill is kind of at the highest extreme of wave energy, it’s very heavy rock material that we use in high wave energy settings but for living shorelines in lower to mid-wave energy settings we use things like oyster shells and other materials that are more oyster and naturally based,” she said.

Park rangers say the living shoreline at Fort Macon will ensure the historic landmark is around for decades to come.

“Fort Macon was built on a barrier island, and barrier islands are always moving and changing it’s very challenging to keep a historic site like Fort Macon protected from natural processes and this is just one more way we’re going to be able to accomplish that,” Flemming said.

Construction on the project is expected to last about six month, according to the North Carolina Coastal Federation. It is expected to cost around $1.8 million and was funded through the General Assembly and the North Carolina Land and Water Fund.