Barrier Beach Restoration on Long Beach West

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Project Title: Barrier Beach Restoration on Long Beach West (FFS #R5FA); project oversight by Southern New England – New York Bight Coastal Program

State: Connecticut

Project Description: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) received $909,000 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to remove 37 cottages and restore beach and dune habitat on 35 acres of municipal property on Long Beach West in Stratford, Conn. The cottages, which had been mostly unoccupied and deteriorating since 1996, were the remnants of a former summer community. The Town of Stratford voted in July 2009 to move ahead with the project.

The Service awarded a $619,000 contract to the Milford, Conn., office of LVI Environmental Services, Inc., a national remediation and facilities services firm, to complete the clean-up project on Long Beach West. The company demolished and removed the cottages, as well as other debris and contaminants such as asbestos. Read the media alert for more information.

“LVI Environmental Services is honored to be working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the Long Beach West project. We share a common concern for the environment and are committed to working together to preserve and protect the fish, wildlife and plants in the area,” said Business Development Manager Craig Lyons. “LVI’s experience with large, complex projects for the government and private industry – combined with our dedication to safety, trained work force and state-of-the art equipment – makes us uniquely qualified for this assignment.”

Site work first began in early 2010 with the creation of a temporary gravel road for construction access, which the company used to transport material off the site. A hazardous materials assessment was completed by Connecticut-based Tighe & Bond and it was determined that materials such as asbestos would need to be removed from the site prior to the demolition work. These materials were removed over land rather than by water as determined by an environmental assessment completed by the Service late 2009. This approach created minimal environmental disturbance and was found to be the safest and most cost effective way to complete the project. Read the media bulletin for more information.

Work was halted from March 15 through September 15, 2010, to not disturb the federally protected nesting shorebirds. National Public Radio featured a story about the beach restoration on September 16, 2010. Additional news coverage of the project has been featured on many stations and newspapers in Connecticut, including Connecticut News 8.

The area along the Connecticut coast is recognized as one of 17 Inaugural Long Island Sound Stewardship sites in Connecticut in the 2006 Stewardship Atlas. In addition, it is listed as an Audubon Important Bird Area, part of a global network of places essential to the survival of priority bird species. Restoring natural conditions will benefit a wide variety of migratory birds, including species of concern such as the least tern, American oystercatcher, clapper rail, and black duck. Long Beach West is also one of the most important remaining beach-nesting areas for the federally threatened piping plover and also supports five species of state-listed rare plants and nesting diamondback terrapins.

Demolition work was completed in April 2011, and habitat restoration was finalized a few weeks later. Since the site has been restored to its natural state, the area is open for passive recreation, something that the town had not been able to offer for quite some time.

According to Sharon Marino, Project Leader for the Service’s Southern New England/New York Bight Coastal Program, many bird species responded positively to the habitat restoration. In April 2011, she noted witnessing osprey using new nesting platforms placed on the beach as well as a pair of American oystercatchers, who have not nested on the beach in the past.

The Service worked closely with many partners to see this project to fruition, including: the Town of Stratford, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Audubon Connecticut, the Trust for Public Land, SoundKeeper, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Connecticut Audubon Society, Connecticut Ornithological Association, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Protect Your Environment, CFE/Save the Sound, the Stratford Conservation Commission, and The Nature Conservancy.

The project was officially kicked off with a Monday September 27, 2010, groundbreaking event. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT 3rd District), Stratford Mayor John A. Harkins, Craig Lyons from LVI Environmental Services, Inc., and representatives from many of the other partners joined Tony Léger, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to mark the occasion. Participants eschewed the traditional golden shovels in favor of golden sledgehammers in honor of the cottage demolition.

“I am very pleased to see the progress being made in improving Long Beach West, cleaning up or demolishing the cottages and restoring the local habitat. These long-needed repairs will enable Stratford to both protect and preserve Long Beach West and surrounding areas, which is why I worked to secure funding to make this project possible,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “I am so pleased to see these efforts and the addition funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are helping to improve our shoreline and our local economy. I applaud the efforts that have been made so far, and look forward to seeing the project’s completion.”

Video: Long Beach West Cottage Removal and Habitat Restoration Project
Play the video below to see the demolition of the unoccupied cottages at Long Beach West.

Video: Long Beach West Restoration Project Groundbreaking Event
Watch the video below for clips from the project’s groundbreaking event!

Video: Long Beach West Cottage Removal for Habitat Restoration
Play the video to learn more about the plans for demolition project!

Photos:

Media Alerts:
Local company awarded $619,000 in stimulus funding to demolish and remove cottages, contaminants from Long Beach West in Stratford, Conn.

Groundbreaking for restoration project at Long Beach West

Fact Sheets:
Nearly $1 million in Recovery Act Funding to Restore Beaches for Wildlife and Recreation on Long Beach West, Stratford, Connecticut

Long Beach West Project – Restoring Barrier Beach Habitat

Originally posted 07/27/2009
Updated 11/23/2009
Updated 02/18/2010
Updated 02/22/2010
Updated 09/20/2010
Updated 09/23/2010
Updated 09/27/2010
Updated 09/30/2010
Updated 10/08/2010
Updated 11/03/2010
Updated 12/13/2010
Updated 04/15/2011
Updated 08/12/2011
Page Completed 08/18/2011

DOI Recovery Investments by Bureau

Last Updated: February 02, 2012
Content contact: recovery@ios.doi.gov