CR tool featured in Smithsonian traveling exhibition

Coastal Resilience station at the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Water/Ways (photo credit: Cristina Carollo, TNC).

The Virginia Eastern Shore Coastal Resilience tool will be featured in “Water/Ways”, a Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition that explores water’s historical, environmental and cultural impact. The exhibition will be held at the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome center from September 2 to October 15, 2017. The Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center is one of six organizations in Virginia chosen to host “Water/Ways”, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. “Water/Ways” thoughtfully examines the role of water in history, culture, habitat, and environment. As ‘the land between two waters’, the exhibition is especially relevant here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The Virginia Coast Reserve is contributing to this exhibit by setting up a Coastal Resilience tool browsing station and a marine restoration corner.

The Coastal Resilience station will let museum visitors explore the tool and apps. This will be the first time local communities get a chance to use the Living Shoreline Explorer app, released a week ago. The app shows recommendations for nature-based shoreline stabilization solutions on the Virginia Eastern Shore. Living shorelines, such as marsh vegetation and constructed oyster reefs, have been found to offer long-term shoreline stabilization against coastal erosion by buffering waves and preserving the connection between marine and terrestrial environments. Measurements show that marsh vegetation alone can dampen waves at higher water levels by as much as 91%. The Living Shoreline Explorer app also includes a marsh vulnerability assessment that illustrates the level of shoreline risk to erosion and inundation based on several factors including varying amounts of wind waves and boat wake exposure, elevation and the shape of the marsh edge, marsh vegetation height, marsh elevation, marsh slope, the current rate of sea level rise, and storm surge intensity. This thorough assessment illustrates which bio-geophysical variables are most influential in shoreline protection and where physical change is most likely to occur so that planners can make more effective decisions to protect their community’s shoreline.

In addition, the marine restoration corner will feature oyster castle blocks and scallop shells and explain the ongoing efforts to restore eelgrass, bay scallops, and oyster reefs in the seaside bays.

VCR staff is enthusiastic to be part of such an important exhibit and to have the opportunity to showcase the customized CR tool and marine restoration efforts. This type of work is valuable for reaching and engaging local community members.