Strategies discussed for controlling erosion of Mathews County’s shoreline

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 18, 2011 - 02:57 PM

Photo: Mathews property owners got a look at suggested plans for dealing with erosion on their shoreline properties at a meeting at Mathews Memorial Library last Thursday. From left, Ann Nichols of Gwynn’s Island, Charlie Hyde of Cobbs Creek, and Dennis Gryder of Hicksville, take a look at the map of the northern Mathews shoreline. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Mathews property owners got a look at suggested plans for dealing with erosion on their shoreline properties at a meeting at Mathews Memorial Library last Thursday. From left, Ann Nichols of Gwynn’s Island, Charlie Hyde of Cobbs Creek, and Dennis Gryder of Hicksville, take a look at the map of the northern Mathews shoreline. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

Mathews County’s recently completed Shoreline Management Plan was the topic of discussion last Thursday during a meeting at Mathews Memorial Library.

John Shaw, Mathews County planning and zoning director, and Scott Hardaway of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Shoreline Studies Program gave a slide show and discussed the plan, then directed residents to maps that indicate areas with erosion problems and to charts that provide information on suggested remedies.

Shaw explained that the plan divides the county’s 300 miles of shoreline into three reaches, or continuous stretches, the first of which begins on the Piankatank River at the county line and runs East to Hill’s Bay at Cherry Point. The second reach runs from Cherry Point to New Point, including Milford Haven, and the third reach runs from New Point to the county line on the Mobjack Bay. Each reach includes tributaries, as well.

Hardaway and his collaborators, Donna Milligan and Marcia Berman, used funding from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Grant to map these reaches, identify erosion issues, create a photographic record, and develop strategies for solving erosion problems. They ignored property ownership or boundaries, said Hardaway, and instead concentrated on the best method for dealing with an entire stretch of shoreline. He said property owners will have to decide for themselves whether the shoreline protection methods suggested are feasible for them, given their circumstances and budget.