Innovative Reef Catches Waves to Save State’s Historic Shoreline

RALEIGH, NC, January 18, 2019- The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) presented North State Engineering, PLLC with its 2019 Award for Engineering Excellence in the (Water and Storm Water/Water Resources/ Special Projects) Category for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Brunswick Town – Fort Anderson Shoreline Stabilization Project.

Located on the banks of the lower Cape Fear River roughly halfway between the mouth of the Cape Fear River and the North Carolina Port of Wilmington, the State’s Brunswick Town- Fort Anderson State Historic Site has been losing its shoreline at an accelerated rate since 2006.  The Site’s grounds were once a bustling colonial port town that later turned into a Civil War fort as part of the Confederate army’s river defense of Wilmington.  Now, large ships traveling to and from the Port of Wilmington create large wakes, or turbulent waves that crash into the Site’s buffering marsh.  This high-energy environment paired with storm surges from hurricanes and other coastal storms has severely eroded the shoreline, damaging and destroying irreplaceable artifacts.  Researchers with the University of North Carolina Wilmington have reviewed and compared aerial photographs of the site dating back to the 1930’s.  These photographs show that since 2006, the Site’s historic waterfront has receded 70 to 120 feet.

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