Fenwick – Hepburn Dune Living Shoreline Project

Project Summary

The Hepburn Dune and Marsh Preservation Living Shoreline Project is a proposed shoreline stabilization project using a living shoreline to mitigate shoreline erosion.  The project is located on the Long Island Sound coastline in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook.  The site is a 450 linear foot segment of coastline consisting of a short, narrow barrier spit that separates the Sound from Lynde Point Marsh, a restored tidal marsh.  Chronic and erosion has been an on-going issue at the project site.  The Borough has expended significant effort and cost to restore the tidal marsh and stabilize the shoreline during the last 10 to 15 years.  However, shoreline erosion continues.

CIRCA supported a living shoreline design given the pilot nature of the project with a challenging wave environment, neighboring infrastructure and property, and the commitment of  project stakeholders toward maintenance of the marsh and beach over the long term.  Design elements include: relocating a portion of Crab Creek, beach nourishment, construction of new rock sills, re locating existing cobbles in the intertidal zone, and placement of sand fill in the intertidal zone.

Left unaddressed, a breach of the existing beach would likely negatively impact the condition and ecology of the restored marsh habitat and, in turn, the federal and state listed species the habitat supports.  This project builds upon the results of the Old Saybrook Coastal Resilience Study, performed by GZA for the Town of Old Saybrook under a Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Fund.  This Municipal Resilience Grant award was for the amount of $66,645.


Hepburn Dune Living Shoreline Project Report

9/23/19 Connecticut Mirror Article - CT’s small solutions to climate change: saving the Hepburn dune with a living shoreline

Project Description

The project site consists of an eroding barrier spit including dune, sandy beach and two small separate tidal marsh areas at the western and eastern edges of the project site.  The existing dune, known locally as the “Hepburn Dune”, was last restored (minimally) in August of 2011, following Tropical Storm Irene, to prevent breaching of the beach and to protect the Lynde Point Marsh to the north.  It has continued to erode to a point at which the restored dune has nearly disappeared.

The goal of the project is to stabilize the long-term shoreline erosion and mitigate the potential for a breach of the barrier spit.  The selected shoreline stabilization method is a living shoreline consistent with current Connecticut living shoreline guidance.  Proposed project components include: 1) relocation of a portion of Crab Creek; 2) beach nourishment and planting; 3) construction of new rock sills; 4) relocation of existing cobbles within the intertidal; 5) placement of sand fill within the intertidal zone with marsh planting.



Project Team Members

Marilyn Ozols – Zoning Enforcement Officer/Land Use Administrator, Borough of Fenwick 

Dan Stapleton – Senior Principal, GZA

Hande McCaw – Project Manager, GZA

Fenwick Aerial Photo

Hepburn Estate, Fenwick, CT

Fenwick Map

Fenwick Map

Topic Areas

This project is a part of the following topical areas:

Living Shorelines