Bavon residents pin hopes on breakwater system

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Dec 05, 2012 - 01:05 PM

Photo: Edith and Bill Powell of Bavon, are among the homeowners who will benefit from a project to build offshore breakwaters along Bavon Beach and Chesapeake Shores. The long-term project, which participants hope will serve as a model for shoreline preservation, involves the cooperative efforts of residents; the non-profit and private business sectors; and county, state and federal government agencies. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Edith and Bill Powell of Bavon, are among the homeowners who will benefit from a project to build offshore breakwaters along Bavon Beach and Chesapeake Shores. The long-term project, which participants hope will serve as a model for shoreline preservation, involves the cooperative efforts of residents; the non-profit and private business sectors; and county, state and federal government agencies. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Bavon Beach and Chesapeake Shores residents hope they’re finally on the way to solving their shoreline erosion problem.

Since 2003, when Hurricane Isabel’s storm surge realigned coastal beaches and destroyed homes all across Virginia, residents of these two adjacent Chesapeake Bay-front communities in southern Mathews County have been working desperately to come up with a way to protect their homes and property.

Now, after last month’s Virginia Marine Resources Commission meeting, with all required permits firmly in hand, the neighbors are pinning their hopes on an offshore breakwater system funded by a unique public/private partnership that they believe will serve as a model for similar shoreline preservation efforts all across the bay.

Bavon Beach homeowner Bill Powell said that the Chesapeake Bay is now 100 feet closer to his home than it was before Isabel, Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2006, and a couple of subsequent northeastern storms ravaged the white sand beach and destroyed several homes in the neighborhood.

Powell and neighbor Dennis Baker praised government agencies and a private non-profit organization for their cooperation in trying to solve the problem, and he said they hope a private corporation that expressed an interest in the project will lend its support, as well.