Erosion at Latham Park Can Be Halted
Repairs to the existing revetment are among the alternatives the Barrington Town Council was told on Monday can save that shoreline from slow erosion.
Erosion along Latham Park and Shore Drive in Bay Spring can be controlled.
Amy Hunt, an engineer with EA Engineering, Science and Technology, delivered that message to the Barrington Town Council on Monday evening, Dec. 17.
Hunt said several low-maintenance options can control the decades-long erosion once and for all at that slice of Bay Spring. The company has a contract with the town to protect the park and that slice of Barrington from day-to-day waves.
The engineer presented several alternatives, which she said are designed for a 50- to 75-year storm. Nothing will save the park from a Hurricane Sandy type of storm.
Not doing anything at the park is one option, she said. But then erosion will continue unchecked.
Repairing the revetment already there by putting down a new foundation of gravel over a geo-textile membrane should protect the top end of the shoreline, Hunt said. That's where the waves have carved away the land behind boulders placed there many years ago to control erosion.
Smaller riprap would then be dumped behind the existing boulders at the top end of the park, Hunt said.
Access to the water would be built at the north end, where a parking lot sits now. The parking lot and play area could be reconfigured.
The south end of the shoreline “gets a little tricky” because of the slope carved out by the waves, she said.
A uniform slope out into the low water must be formed, she said. It will take a significant amount of fill while also clearing out the invasive plants growing there. But it will save Shore Drive from further encroachment.
A small stretch of land between the upper and lower sections of the shoreine that at one time was a sandy beach should not be touched, she said.
"I would leave it alone," Hunt said. "Allow water in and out. Allow it to go back to being the tidal pool it once was."
EA Engineering also considered a breakwater type of structure she described as a “living shoreline." But the firm has decided already that this won’t work. It should not be considered an alternative.
Hunt did not present an overall cost for the erosion-control work. At a previous publice meeting at the Bay Spring Community Center, she said the cost can vary from $325 to $825 per linear foot for the revetment repairs and $875 to $2,100 per linear foot for the work at the lower end of the park.
The town already has a $75,000 grant in hand that it can match, said Town Planner Phil Hervey, who assisted with Hunt's presentation.
Applying for other grants, including to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the RI Department of Environmental Management, is a next step, both Hervey and Hunt said.
Work on the shoreline could get underway within a year, she said. That's the timetable to go from design to permitting.