Welcome back to the marsh!

Today we will explore the James River Association’s newest living shoreline at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield!

Located on the beautiful James River tributary of Cypress Creek, this living shoreline is designed to prevent erosion near a public trail while simultaneously providing habitat to native wildlife and removing pollutants from the water.

Installation was completed by contractors, JRA staff, and volunteers. Oyster castles (specially shaped cinder blocks that allow oysters to grow on them) were placed at the low tide line and then filled with loose shell. These will protect the new shoreline from storms and wave action. Sand is placed behind these oyster castles and it is then planted with native species like smooth cordgrass, salt meadow hay, and big cordgrass. The final ingredient to a living shoreline is goose exclusion fencing! Monofilament fishing line is strung up around the site with flagging tape to ward off any Canada geese that would love to fly in and eat the new grasses.

This project would not have been possible without JRA’s partners including contractor Bay Environmental Inc., DCR’s Shoreline Erosion Advisory Service, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Wetlands Watch. Special thanks to the Town of Smithfield and their Parks and Rec Department for hosting this demonstration project.

If you would like to see this living shoreline in person, feel free to visit Windsor Castle Park! There is public parking next to the kayak launch. From there proceed down the trail to the left. The shoreline is in two sections and you can see how well the grass is growing!