A shoreline stabilization project, in the works for about four years, has been completed in Seaford’s Riverview Park. City manager Charles Anderson told the city council last week that in addition to slowing erosion along the shores of the Nanticoke River, the improvements will help capture runoff from parking lots at the city’s boat ramp.
The project includes installation of a “living shoreline,” which aims to imitate as much as possible what would be found growing naturally along a waterway, with stones and fiber logs for stabilization. With wetland and aquatic plants, the shorelines absorb wave action, protecting against erosion.
The shoreline also captures pollutants that are on the paved parking lot and that otherwise would wash into the river. The pollutants include sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus, the focus of a 2010 mandate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that is aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, of which the Nanticoke River is part.
The University of Delaware and the Sussex Conservation District helped in the planning of the project.
The cost was $416,000. The city paid for the project with grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and from funding directed at improving the water quality of the Chesapeake.
About half of the cost was for construction of an L-shaped boardwalk, with one leg crossing the new living shoreline and the other leg running parallel to the shoreline.
Planning for the project started in 2016, when the city acquired a state grant to draw up a plan to combat erosion at the park. “We were losing land,” Anderson told councilmen last week. “There is a lot of boat traffic in that area, a lot of barge traffic, and barges even turn around there.” Water traffic generates wave action, which leads to erosion.
Anderson said that the project is completed: “This is what we needed to do to protect the shoreline.”
But, he added, eventually the boardwalk could be extended toward the downtown and the planned Oyster House Park at the foot of Pearl Street. The stretch of the Nanticoke along there “is uniquely beautiful,” he said.
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Riverview Park, along Nanticoke Avenue next to Seaford’s wastewater treatment plant, is open from sunrise to sunset. In addition to the new boardwalk, it also has a small pavilion with picnic tables.