Innovative Erosion Control Involving the Beneficial Use of Dredged Material, Indigenous Vegetation, and Landscaping Along the Lake Erie Shoreline
Presque Isle, PA

Grantee: PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources
Basin Program Funds: $15,000
Non-federal Funds: $18,000
Project Duration: 06/1998 - 05/1999
Status: complete

Problem Statement
Preseque Isle State Park, located on the shore of Lake Erie at Erie, Pennsylvania, attracts approximately four million visitors annually who enjoy the park's multi-purpose trail, boating opportunities and visiting the Perry Monument. A sand bar that has developed northeast of the Perry Monument restricts recreational boat usage in the immediate vicinity.

Before: Note proximity of trail to water's edge.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks -- Presque Isle State Park cooperated with the Presque Isle Partnership to develop an innovative, low cost solution to bay inlet erosion in Presque Isle State Park. The project team decided to incorporate a combination of riprap, indigenous plants and landscape architecture to retard shoreline erosion.

Presque Isle State Park, located on Lake Erie's southern shore near Erie, Pennsylvania, is a major recreational resource used by approximately four million visitors annually. In addition to some 13 miles of hiking trails, the park offers access to Lake Erie and is a popular destination for boaters, anglers and bathers. A significant sand bar, some 300 feet long and 25 feet wide, has developed off the northeast tip of Perry Monument, restricting recreational boat usage in the immediate area. Additionally, along Misery Bay the shoreline has eroded to within 15 feet of the multi-purpose trail.

Project personnel proposed dredging some 200 feet of sand from the Perry Monument sand bar to use in stabilizing the shoreline at Misery Bay. The project would leave a portion of the Perry Monument sand bar intact to allow canoeists and boaters a convenient launch spot.

The team dredged and dewatered approximately 400 tons of sand from the Perry Monument sand bar. At the same time they placed 24 inch riprap along the Misery Bay site. When the sand have been adequately dried, it was spread over the riprap to create a natural dune profile. Native species, which had been saved from the sandbar dredging, were planted to assist in stabilization. These included willow, red osier dogwood, silky dogwood and button bush. The sand was also covered with geotextile made of coconut fibre to protect the sand from erosion while young plants gain a foothold. Project team members also constructed wattles from the native cuttings and used fallen willow trees as timber groins to act as wave dissipaters and stabilize the new sand dune further.

After: Rip rap in place.

Park staff will disseminate this information via the "Ask DCNR" on the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources web page They also intend to notify local conservation districts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, county and municipal planners and other interested groups about the project. It has received coverage in the Erie Morning News, the Harrisburg Patriot and the July 1998 edition of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources newsletter, Resources.

Project personnel estimate the life of the project at 25 years. Over that time some 594 tons of soil, 5,940 pound of phosphorus and 1,188 pounds of nitrogen are expected to be kept out of the bay. The project team reached approximately 75 students and local officials during the project period with a multi-media presentation and an on-site inspection. In addition, over 300 students will be exposed to the project beyond the grant period.

Contact: Harry Leslie, (814) 833-7424


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