Town Can Control Bay Spring Erosion
Barrington can protect the Latham Park and Shore Drive shoreline from more erosion, according to an engineer who presented several options Tuesday evening.
The Latham Park shoreline in Bay Spring – perhaps a big chunk of that part of Barrington as well -- might have disappeared if Superstorm Sandy had tracked northeast instead of northwest in late October.
So, no matter what Barrington does to control the decades-long erosion problem along the Latham Park and Shore Drive shoreline, it will probably never be enough to withstand such a severe onslaught of weather when it comes.
There are low-maintenance options, however, that can control erosion once and for all at Latham Park, according to Amy Hunt of EA Engineering, Science and Technology. The company has a contract with the town to protect the park and that slice of Barrington from day-to-day waves – not a superstorm.
The engineer presented those options, which are designed for a 25- to 50-year storm, to about a dozen Bay Spring residents Tuesday night, Dec. 11, at the community center on Narragansett Avenue. The options seemed to get good feedback – the reason for the public meeting before presenting alternatives to the Town Council.
Repairing the revetment that is already there by putting down a new foundation of gravel over a geo-textile membrane should protect the top end of that shoreline, Hunt said. That's where the waves have carved away the land behind boulders placed there many years ago to control erosion, said Hunt.
“We couldn’t find a filter under the rocks,” she said. “Don’t bother to make the repairs without it.”
Smaller riprap would then be dumped behind the existing boulders at the top end of the park, Hunt said.
Moving to the south end of that shoreline, she said, “gets a little tricky” because of the slope carved out by the waves.
“We need to create a uniform slope out into the low water,” she said. “It will take a significant amount of fill while also clearing out the invasive plants growing there.”
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.
That “gray stone area” works pretty well already, Hunt said, even without the geotextile membrane. Nature will take care of that piece of shoreline, which includes a tidal basin that will fill and empty with water.
“It will go back on its own,” Hunt said.
EA Engineering also considered a “living shoreline” off the beach -- “sort of a breakwater,” she said. But it has been decided already that this won’t work.
Hunt did not present an overall cost for the erosion-control work. It 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 will match, said Town Planner Phil Hervey.
Applying for other grants, including to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is a next step, Hunt said. First, though, she will make the same presentation to the Town Council at its Dec. 17 meeting.