In 2005 and 2006, Hull Springs Farm launched "Living Shorelines: Shoreline Erosion Control and Habitat Enhancement Research Project" with many partners including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Burke Environmental Associates, the Northern Neck Planning District Commission and others.
The assessment and inventory phase of this project evaluated how living shoreline techniques could be used to control erosion, and preserve or restore shoreline habitat that supports shorebirds, juvenile fish, tidal marsh, submerged aquatic vegetation, and other plant and wildlife species.
The living shoreline stewardship plan addressed shoreline restoration and conservation options for Hull Springs Farm and all of the Lower Machodoc Creek. It also detailed the steps the Foundation needed to take to obtain permits for a living shoreline sill and marsh project. The project protected the main residence and a champion 400-year old southern red oak tree (Quercus falcata) at the top of the bank. A low wall of rocks was installed in shallow waters to absorb wave energy and an 8,000 square foot tidal fringe marsh was planted in fill sand placed between the sill and toe of the bank. Earth Resources Inc. and volunteers subsequently installed the sill and marsh, and planted 4,800 plugs of marsh grasses (Spartina alterniflora and Spartina patens).
The project used proven strategies and experimental technologies to protect the bank and enhance shoreline habitat.
A ten-year monitoring plan was set for the sill and marsh that includes warm-weather and cold-weather sampling of a wide range of organisms, including benthic-dwelling worms, fish, crabs, and snails.
Monitoring also includes basic water quality parameters, terrestrial factors and the build-up of organic material in the fringe marsh over time.