Work underway to reinforce section of RI coastline

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Work is underway to restore a section of Rhode Island’s coastline.

The project aims to help protect the marsh at Middletown’s Sachuest Beach from rising sea levels and coastal storm surges.

The process of digging and moving around dirt and sand is called thin layer deposition. Without the additional reinforcement of the sand, the marsh could eventually end up underwater.

“If you have too much water standing on the marsh, those plants that live on the marsh are inundated for too long, and they start to die off,” explained Hurricane Sandy Resiliency Coordinator Jennifer White.

And it’s not just the plants that are at risk. In fact, animals such as the Salt Marsh Sparrow need high marsh to breed successfully.

“Fifty percent of their population is found here within Rhode Island and Connecticut, so they are an important bird for us to take care of,” White added.

Also, it’s not just tropical storms and hurricanes that create storm surges and erosion. Powerful winter storms can be just as bad, like the snowstorm late last month.

“That was just the end of January, and that brought a lot of sand and also took away a lot of sand in a lot of areas as well,” said White.

The bill for the project is $644,000, which is more than covered by the $4.1 million in federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery.

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