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West Pond Living Shoreline Ecological Design

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, NY

Clients: National Park Service | Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Project Partners: Dirtworks Landscape Architecture | Rippled Waters Engineering


Acres Restored


West Pond Acreage

Project Summary:

Great Ecology provided ecological guidance on the design and engineering of a living shoreline project at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to restore and protect a stretch of eroding levee along the southern portion of West Pond. We led the regulatory approval process and are now providing construction oversight to ensure the ecological goals of the project are met.
West Pond, and its neighboring impoundment East Pond, are one of the few remaining sources of fresh water within Jamaica Bay due to historic conversion of freshwater marshes to urban development over the last two centuries. They serve as critical habitat within the metropolis of New York City and are under increasing threat from rising sea levels. The team developed a comprehensive, sustainable living shoreline design that restores almost 15 acres/2,600 linear feet of coastal salt marsh habitat improving resiliency of existing wetlands, shorelines, and other sensitive habitat areas. Restoring and establishing coastal saltmarshes in a highly dynamic system such as Jamaica Bay has proved challenging in the past given the strong erosional forces that exist from wind and wave action. To solve this issue, the project team proposed a pilot series of integrated and overlapping erosional control structures (coir logs, shell-bag breakwaters, and tree vanes) that protect the marsh and allow the newly planted vegetation to take root.

For the Birds, and More

West Pond and East Pond are both critical sources of freshwater for birds that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway and use the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge as stopover habitat. Our living shoreline project will provide significant erosion protection helping maintain these freshwater resources while adding new coastal habitats that support numerous local wildlife, including invertebrates that serve as important sources of food for migrating birds.

All renderings courtesy Dirtworks LA