NPS kicks off phase two of Dyke Marsh stabilization and restoration project


A barge used for staging during the Dyke Marsh restoration (Credit: Glenda Booth, Friends of Dyke Marsh)

Construction on the second and final phase of the Dyke Marsh stabilization and restoration project began in July and will last through the end of this year or early next, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

Under phase two, which was approved by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission last summer, NPS will extend the rock sill beyond the recently constructed breakwater and existing sills by 1,720 linear feet. The 1,500-foot breakwater and a sill in the south marsh were built during phase one of the project from 2018 to 2020.

One of the sills built during phase one of the Dyke Marsh restoration project (Credit: Glenda Booth, Friends of Dyke Marsh)

By extending the rock sill further north, officials hope to further reduce erosion and stabilize the disappearing marsh, according to the Friends of Dyke Marsh. Without taking prompt action, the marsh would be gone by 2035, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2010. Changes in Dyke Marsh over the years can be viewed with the Fairfax County historical imagery viewer.

Coastal Design and Construction, Inc. of Gloucester, Virginia, the firm that completed the phase one construction project, was contracted last November to carry out the phase two work. The contractor had to wait until the end of the annual fish moratorium to begin construction activities.

NPS said that residents of neighboring communities shouldn’t notice any noise from the project.

The Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is one of the largest remaining freshwater tidal wetlands in the Washington metropolitan area, according to NPS. The preserve is located along the Virginia side of the Potomac River near Belle Haven Park and Marina.

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