Each year, more than three million people make the pilgrimage to Colonial National Historical Park to experience the well-preserved and iconic 18th century beginning and end of English Colonial America, and the birthplace of American democracy.
Over the years and behind the scenes, the National Park Service has teamed with Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to complete a variety of environmental repair and restoration projects to conserve Colonial's scenic beauty and natural and historic objects for the enjoyment and education of future generations.
Now they're teaming up to assemble a project delivery team through an interagency agreement to design and construct a combination of shoreline structures and marsh protection in four sections of the York River at the Colonial National Historical Park. It's where Mother Nature continues to exact a heavy toll on the bluffs and shoreline of the venerable York River.
"The National Park Service, including Colonial National Historical Park, has benefited from the expertise of the Norfolk District for many years," said Lilly Hardin, project manager for NPS' Denver Service Center. "Their level of support and understanding has ensured that the park's cultural and archeological resources will be protected for future generations. This latest project will ensure that the scenic beauty of the York River and the historic culture of Colonial Parkway will both be preserved."
Design and construction funding for the York River Shoreline Stabilization project totals $6.2 million, which includes $738,000 to perform specified emergency construction. For the remaining project, the team will initially complete a 30 percent design of the entire 4.1 mile shoreline repair, and then a 100 percent design for the emergency repair portions of the project.
A Norfolk District contractor will provide project construction, while the district will manage the construction project.
Cara Sydnor, project manager and biologist at Norfolk District, is leading the restoration and repair project. The Omaha, Neb. native has served seven years with Norfolk District and said she feels uniquely qualified to lead this restoration and repair project, which will begin later this year, because of her background in biology and love for the natural environment.
"My work in wetlands preservation, riverbank restoration and waterway management has helped me really understand the forces – artificial and natural – that degrade our nation's amazing natural beauty. Preserving a portion of that natural beauty, especially at Colonial National Historical Park, is a dream project for any biologist," Sydnor said.
The NPS has managed Colonial National Historical Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, since the early 1930s. The park covers about 15 square miles and is centered on a peninsula between the York and James rivers, in southeastern Virginia. The park offers pilgrims a scenic 23-mile Colonial Parkway that meanders through the three points of Virginia's Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield and the historic district of Colonial Williamsburg.
Norfolk District has completed a variety of preservation and restoration projects at the park. Some of those projects have included the stabilization of key sections of the Jamestown Island shoreline; the rehabilitation of the centuries-old Wormley Pond Dam in Yorktown; and completed in 2007, the Emergency York River Shoreline Repair and Protection Project.