Artificial reefs installed at local state historic site to fix erosion problem

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WINNABOW, NC (WWAY) — Erosion is common along parts of our coast. Even at the shoreline of a local state historic site on the Cape Fear River. Now, a project is underway to fix the problem.

“This would be the most aggressive and largest living shoreline project in the state of North Carolina, probably one of the largest ever attempted,” said site manager Jim McKee.

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The Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site has an erosion problem.

“The Cape Fear River is a very dynamic river. Anyone who’s lived here long enough knows storms can pick up, ship traffic, boat traffic, wind driven waves. There’s a lot of issues that go into what’s happening with out waterfront,” said McKee.

Hurricane Matthew accelerated the problem last year, eating away a good portion of the shoreline.

“In areas where we had about thirty feet at one time of dirt or bluff between the river and the fort, when we started this project, we had about twelve feet, if that,” said McKee.

Now they are trying something new, artificial reefs being built to protect from erosion.

“That’s gonna form a barrier that’s gonna break up the wave action, before it can form, and before it can hit the shoreline,” said McKee.

Made of concrete and fastened to rods anchored in the sediment, the reefs will protect the fort’s long and storied history.

“Fort Anderson is really one of the best preserved fortifications in the Western Hemisphere. This fort is about 89 to 90 percent intact, so what you see is pretty much the way it was left,” said McKee.

Preserving a landmark, so that future generations get to enjoy it, too.

Work began on the project this month and is expected to be completed within 60 days.