GrassProtecta: From landfill to boat launch

Once the site of a municipal landfill, the Lewis Road Kayak Launch recreational area - opened this past summer - was transformed to a living shoreline and non-motorized boat access point to Ayers Creek in Worcester County, Md.

From Trash to Treasure

The site of the new boat launch served as the Ocean City landfill from the 1950s to the early 1980s, and as a police gun range for the next nine years. Once designated as a Superfund site, the area was cleared of toxic materials by 2007 and sat unused for the next few years. Through a partnership among the Maryland Bays Coastal Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland State Highway Administration, and the Ocean City mayor and city council, work began in 2011 to restore the site's natural habitat and add an ADA-accessible area to serve paddlers and nature lovers. The new recreational area includes a low-impact walkway to the shore, parking spaces, a bike rack for public use, and a living shoreline access site composed of biologs, sand fill and wetlands plantings.

Stable Surface, Low Impact

Initial plans included construction of a boardwalk for shorefront access. This proved problematic, with remains from the landfill making it difficult to install the necessary supports for the boardwalk. The project team reviewed options and selected Typar GrassProtecta ground reinforcement mesh for the 100-ft walkway and adjoining parking area. GrassProtecta oscillated mesh reinforces surfaces and provides protection to underlying vegetation and root systems. By allowing turf to intertwine with the mesh filaments, a strong, reinforced base is created that is capable of withstanding vehicle loads. The permeable structure makes it ideal for recreational and park areas, providing a reinforced surface without the effects of traditional paved options (water runoff, construction debris, etc.) - the end result being less stress on the surrounding ecosystem. The mesh is also non-slip and ADA accessible, making it a safe walkway.

GrassProtecta is supplied in rolls that are 2 meters wide and install easily over existing surfaces. The flexible material does not require heavy equipment for installation, which reduces the impact on the surrounding environment during the project timeframe.

The Ultimate Recycling Project

The Lewis Road Kayak Launch provides an access point to the Assateague Water Trail, is the only public water access in upper Ayers Creek and connects the area to already established paddling areas. The careful selection of cutting-edge, low-impact materials like GrassProtecta contributes to a successful project that creates a functional, safe, sustainable use for abandoned land once deemed unusable.


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