Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Hog Island is an emergent estuarine marsh complex that is part of the overall Guinea marshes (Figure 1). These marshes are located at the confluence of Mobjack Bay and the York River in Gloucester County, Virginia. Hog Island is a high wave energy eroding shoreline along its south-face on the York River, and lower wave energy along its west and east flanks that occur on Monday Creek (Figure 2). The marsh consists mainly of grasses such as Spartina alterniflora and Spartina patens. A higher, sandy area along the higher energy shorelines has some scrub shrub. Two small ponds and a small creek occur on the interior of the marsh. The edge of the island is irregularly shaped with exposed peat and peat scarps along the shoreline (Figure 3).
Hog Island is critical for several reasons including: (1) Guinea Marsh Islands are important maritime habitats for shorebirds, waterfowl, as well as many important marine species; (2) Guinea Marsh Islands provide a storm surge break to the marsh complex inside Monday Creek and down the Mobjack Bay side towards the Severn, which will soon be marshes owned by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources; (3) Monday Creek has two aquaculture operations inside of the creek and the uplands provide a storm break for growing oysters; and (4) There are many FEMA repetitive loss structures in Guinea. Protecting these islands reduces the amount of storm surge energy entering the creek and thus reduces flood damage. As such, this project took conservation, resiliency, and protection aspects into consideration when assessing Hog Island for shore protection and habitat restoration. To determine management strategy suitability, the site assessment included hydrodynamic, physical, and biotic conditions existing at the site.
Coastal marshes, shoreline protection, habitat restoration
Hardaway, C., Milligan, D. A., Wilcox, C. A., & DiNapoli, N. J. (2020) Hog Island Shore Protection and Habitat Restoration Living Shoreline Project. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. https://doi.org/10.25773/1PXK-NB27