2014-07-10 / Nature

Beach Restoration Proceeds at King’s Park

By Jack Kelly


Wenley Ferguson, left, Save The Bay Restoration Specialist and Scott Wheeler, Building and Grounds Supervisor, discuss the progress of the project at King’s Park Beach. (Photo by Jack Kelly) Wenley Ferguson, left, Save The Bay Restoration Specialist and Scott Wheeler, Building and Grounds Supervisor, discuss the progress of the project at King’s Park Beach. (Photo by Jack Kelly) Newport’s King’s Park Beach, at the south end of the harbor, is receiving a much needed upgrade. The beach has seen significant erosion during the past three years due to Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, as well as significant tidal action from powerful Nor’easters during the previous three winters. What exists now is a steep drop-off from the lawn to the beach. Scott Wheeler with City of Newport Building and Grounds explained, “This area is an asset to the community, but due to the erosion it now presents a public safety issue that needed to be addressed. This is a public boat launch area, and serves other functions for city residents and visitors.”

According to Wenley Ferguson, Restoration Specialist for Save The Bay, “We have lost at least 10 feet of beach and lawn in this area. This project will stop further loss and restore a sloping beachfront and adapt the area for future sea level rises.”


Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. The project requires that a threefoot wide trench be dug along the border of the lawn that will be 24 inches deep in the rear to conform with the lawn height, and then slope down to beach level. Once established, the floor of the trench will be lined with plywood and two layers of biodegradable coconut fiber core fabric will be laid and secured with rebar. A layer of burlap will then be placed in the trench and workers will backfill with beach sand. As each section is filled, workers will pull the three layers of fiber taut and sew them closed. “Once this work is completed the whole core will be buried and will not be seen by the public,” Ferguson said.

“This is one of the projects Save The Bay targeted through the Pilot Coastal Adaptation Projects, and it is a partnership between the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council, Save The Bay and the City of Newport. We have already completed these same types of projects in Warwick and Cranston,” Ferguson commented. Wheeler was quick to give credit to Save The Bay, “They have done the lion’s share of the work from design and implementation, to the permitting process with the CRMC. They have been excellent partners on this important project.”

Funding for the program was secured through a federal grant that is being administered through NOAA and the CRMC. The contracted work, which Ferguson estimates to be at $20,000, is being performed by the NETCO Co. of Lexington, Mass. “We’ve worked with this company on similar projects in the past, and they are well aware of what is required here. The city was willing to try to remedy the situation,” Ferguson said.

“In the past, the solution would have been to bring in truckloads of sand and dump it, but that won’t work now with rising sea levels. It would be stripped out again in the next storm and that would be a waste of time and money. This project gives structure and support to the lawn and creates a sloping beach. We have addressed a serious public safety issue at no expense to Newport taxpayers,” Wheeler commented.

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