Machicomoco State Park - Middle Peninsula Unit - Living Shoreline Feasibility Study

Project Manager

Richard Harr
Project Manager
Norfolk District, USACE
803 Front Street
Norfolk, VA 23510

Section 510 Process

Section 510 -- Click to enlarge image.

Virtual Public Meeting

Virtual Public Meeting, 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 18

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District (USACE) and the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) invite the public to attend an informational meeting about the Middle Peninsula State Park Feasibility Study, as part of the Section 510, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration and Protection Program. The purpose of the meeting is to provide the public an opportunity to learn more about the ecosystem restoration and shoreline protection project at DCR’s Middle Peninsula unit at Machicomoco State Park in Gloucester County, Virginia. 

The meeting is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18 and will be held virtually via WebEx. To join the meeting, go to:

Pursuant with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the USACE plans to prepare a NEPA document to evaluate impacts from reasonable project alternatives and determine the potential for significant impacts.

The public is invited to submit NEPA scoping comments at the meeting and/or until Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Please submit comments or questions to Peyton Mowery, Biologist, via email (, telephone (757-201-7390), or mail at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, ATTN: Peyton Mowery, Planning and Policy Branch, 803 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510. 

Project Background

Machicomoco State Park, consisting of 645 acres overlooking the York River in Gloucester County, is the first state park celebrating and honoring the history and legacy of the Native Tribes of Virginia.

The Middle Peninsula unit at Machicomoco State Park is located in Gloucester County off Route 632.  The 431-acre property has 2,260 linear feet of York River shoreline where the river is approximately two miles wide.  The park also includes approximately 3,776 linear feet of frontage along Aberdeen Creek. 

In September 2020, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation requested assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with a Living Shoreline project at the Middle Peninsula Unit of Machicomoco State Park. Citing erosion of shoreline and marsh habitat due to wind and wave action, Virginia DCR requested assistance under Section 510 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. 


Section 510 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 1996 (Public Law 104-303), as amended, authorizes USACE to design and construct water-related resource protection and restoration projects within the Chesapeake Bay watershed for non-Federal interests.

The Norfolk District completed a scoping report detailing the proposed project, which was submitted to North Atlantic Division (NAD) for approval Feb. 4, 2021. NAD approved the project for inclusion in the Section 510 program Nov. 11, 2021.


The scope of work for the feasibility phase of the project includes the development of project alternatives by the Norfolk District as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, an examination of the impacts and benefits of each alternative, and the recommendation of an alternative for design and construction. This process will be documented in an EA, and, if appropriate, will result in the signing of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

The proposed project would remove the derelict timber groins and degrading bulkhead, grade the existing topography into a natural sloping shoreline, install an offshore reef structure, and restore the wetland and marsh areas on the eastern and western extents of the property. The rehabilitation and installation of a living shoreline at Middle Peninsula State Park would improve the habitat value of the area, provide additional habitat for wading and foraging avian species, remove safety hazards, and prevent future shoreline property loss.

The existing offshore habitat would be improved upon with the removal of the groins, as well as the placement of a series of offshore oyster reef structures. The reef would be approximately 0.5 acres and subtidal, not exposed during low tide cycles, to prevent any hazards with recreational users in the vicinity. They would provide wave attenuation effects, which would reduce potential shoreline impacts during storm events. Artificial oyster reefs provide habitat for not only oysters, but other Bay fauna and promote nutrient mixing within the water column. Removal of the degrading bulkhead and grading the bank would alleviate the safety issues, as well as provide a larger beach and natural slope to the property. The wetland and marsh habitats on either end of the project area would be restored, approximately 0.6 acres, and will further protect the shoreline by increasing native cordgrass and mussel populations. Mussels may be placed within the fringes of the wetland, along approximately 0.09 acres of the new marsh habitat. The oyster reef would also serve to improve local water quality as oysters filter sediments and bacteria from the water column.

This phase of the project includes the following activities:

  • Preparation of an EA.
  • Review of the EA and FONSI.
  • Closeout of the feasibility phase.



Study Area Map

Click to enlarge image

Project Sponsor

Click to visit Virginia DCR website