Help sought for NRPA project

Published 8:40 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nansemond River Preservation Alliance’s volunteers work to restore the shoreline at Bennett’s Creek Park in 2015.

Nansemond River Preservation Alliance’s volunteers work to restore the shoreline at Bennett’s Creek Park in 2015.

The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance is recruiting volunteers to help restore a 100-foot shoreline buffer at Sleepy Hole Park.

The Suffolk Department of Parks and Recreation is completing construction this week of a 300-foot pier and kayak/canoe launch site at the park, according to NRPA Executive Director Elizabeth Taraski.

Building a “living shoreline” and walking trail to the shoreline will help stabilize the area where the pier was built and prevent future erosion, Taraski said.

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The project will include planting trees and native shrubs and creating a walking path for park patrons along the shoreline, she added.

Volunteers are being sought to work on the project from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 23 and 30. The project will depend upon the temperature being at least 40 degrees and minimal wind, Taraski said.

She hopes at least 15 volunteers will sign up each weekend.

It’s important that the planting takes place shortly after construction is complete to save as much of the original shoreline as possible, Taraski said.

The plants along the shoreline will act as a filter for the nutrients that run off the land into the water, she added.

“We want the plants to take hold … because they will be stabilizing,” Taraski said.

The organization worked with about 100 volunteers — mostly employees from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ facility in Windsor — on a similar project in Bennett’s Creek Park last year. Later this spring, a group of volunteers will be returning to Bennett’s Creek to do additional work, she said.

Since organizing in 2009, the alliance has partnered with the city and other organizations on several projects, including water-quality monitoring, educational and environmental stewardship programs in schools, and hands-on projects to preserve and protect Suffolk’s waterways.

“One of our goals is to increase awareness among citizens in Suffolk that they need to implement best practices,” she said. “Every person makes a difference when in comes to protecting the environment.”

To sign up or for more information, contact Taraski via email at