Public/private partnership seeks to protect Bavon shoreline

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 04, 2011 - 04:43 PM

Photo: Residents of Bavon Beach met with local, state and federal officials recently to discuss an ongoing effort to protect shoreline for subdivision residents and habitat for the tiger beetle through a public/private partnership. Gathered at the home of Bavon Beach resident Bill Powell, left, are Tylan Dean and Mike Drummond of the Gloucester office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mathews County Planning and Zoning director John Shaw, Scott Hardaway of the Shoreline Studies Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Bavon Beach resident Dennis Baker. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Residents of Bavon Beach met with local, state and federal officials recently to discuss an ongoing effort to protect shoreline for subdivision residents and habitat for the tiger beetle through a public/private partnership. Gathered at the home of Bavon Beach resident Bill Powell, left, are Tylan Dean and Mike Drummond of the Gloucester office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mathews County Planning and Zoning director John Shaw, Scott Hardaway of the Shoreline Studies Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Bavon Beach resident Dennis Baker. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

A public/private partnership is brewing in Bavon that could result in the preservation of shoreline for residents and habitat for the endangered Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle.

Mike Drummond and Tylan Dean of the Gloucester office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been working with residents of Bavon Beach, located at the lower end of Mathews County, to develop a plan for and to fund a series of offshore breakwaters to cut down on erosion, which threatens the homes of both humans and tiger beetles. Much of the shoreline has been lost over the past few years to hurricanes and other storms.

The partnership also includes the Army Corps of Engineers, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Nature Conservancy (which owns the beach that lies between neighborhood homes and the water), and Luck Stone, a Virginia business that’s interested in shoreline preservation.

Drummond explained recently during a meeting at the home of Bavon Beach resident Bill Powell that the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle, which has been on the federal list of threatened species since 1990, is now in even greater peril of extinction and has been added to the list of endangered animals.

While the tiger beetle’s habitat has historically ranged from New England to Virginia, there are now only a few sites left where the creature continues to live and breed—two in Massachusetts, four in Maryland, and the remainder—and largest numbers—in Virginia, with Bavon Beach considered one of the healthiest sites left.