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Fairfield and Bridgeport make a plan to prevent coastline flooding

John Christoffersen
Paige Herman, president of the Fairfield Beach Residents Association, poses in front of her house on the beach in Fairfield, Conn., in 2013.

Fairfield and Bridgeport in Connecticut agreed this week to preserve a sand spit that protects more than 200 homes on the coastline. The partnership follows a study released by the Ash Creek Association in July that found the sand spit could disappear in 15 years, affecting more than 200 homes.

The spit has served to break waves coming off Long Island Sound since the 1600s, but has been eroded by storms Irene and Sandy. The two municipalities agreed to plant more than 30,000 plugs of native beach grass and vegetation to stabilize the spit and reduce erosion as a quick fix.

Gail Robinson, president of the Ash Creek Association, said she is glad the cities finally partnered on a restoration plan, but that more should be done to bolster the sand barrier. 

“This is an interim step because it’s just way too low,” Robinson said. “The sand spit has too much erosion and right now we’re just trying to build the spine of it so it grows higher through the vegetation.”

Robinson said the sand spit is the first line of defense from flooding, so sand dredged from elsewhere can help.

“We want to see these plantings go in this fall and for the next dredging permit,” she said. “We want less aggressive dredging but more frequent dredging and return the sand to the sand spit or to the tidal wetlands.”

Fairfield and Bridgeport have also agreed to split the cost of the plantings. According to Fairfield’s conservation department, the costs are estimated to be between $80,000 and $90,000. Robinson said they work to create a long term solution.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.