Friends of the Tiger Beetle Host Educational Event at Bavon Beach
April 22, 2016
Mathews, VA — The Friends of the Tiger Beetle & Chesapeake Bay Habitat Foundation (a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization) hosted 75 7th grade students from Thomas Hunter Middle School on Bavon Beach for an interactive educational event on Earth Day. With public and private support, the Foundation has recently constructed a series of breakwaters at Bavon Beach to arrest aggressive shoreline erosion at Bavon and protect the habitat of the Tiger Beetle, a threatened species.
The event was consistent with the educational objectives of the Foundation. It included presentations from Sarah Nystrom from US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) about the dwindling Tiger Beetle population and the erosion of their habitat and a discussion led by Scott Hardaway from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS) about the reasons for and responses to shoreline erosion. Each student was also given an opportunity to plant grasses that will promote growth of a new dune system.
Construction of the breakwater system represents the culmination of a longstanding effort characterized by public/private cooperation over the last 15 years. Representatives of The Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, and the County of Mathews were also present. Each agency has played a role in bringing this project to fruition.
“It was very rewarding to finally see this project come together and great for our Foundation and partner agencies to be able to share our story with a new generation” said Jack Carroll, FOTB Treasurer and long-time Bavon resident. “We hope we created some advocacy for the Chesapeake Bay today.”
Objectives of the Friends of the Tiger Beetle & Chesapeake Bay Habitat Foundation
Encouraging, recognizing, supporting the preservation of the natural habitat of the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle and other threatened and endangered species in the Bavon Beach area of the Chesapeake Bay in Mathews County, Virginia;
Encouraging, recognizing and supporting the preservation and restoration of habitats and ecosystems throughout the Chesapeake Bay area
Educating the public about and coordinating efforts to prevent the extinction of the Tiger Beetle and other threatened and endangered species; and
Developing models of public private partnerships and coordinate efforts to protect sensitive shorelines, beaches and habitats for threatened and endangered species throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
For more information, or to make a contribution, visit: https://www.savevirginiascoast.org
Several neighbors enjoyed the beautiful weather this last weekend in January, walked the beach, and marveled at the first of three completed breakwaters. What is really super news is that this breakwater was completed in time to withstand the nor’easter “Jonas”, with over 50 knots of wind and tremendous wave action. When the storm calmed, the sand behind the breakwater had accumulated more than ten feet on the north side.
All neighbors are welcome to join the fund raising efforts to complete all three breakwaters this season. Please join us in this community event. We can already appreciate the beginning of this engineered solution to protect the beach. One only needs to look south to see the deterioration of the beach going toward the lighthouse.
The Board would like to bring the community up to speed as we approach the final payment on the contract with Coastal Design for the breakwater construction at Bavon Beach and southern Chesapeake Shores. This September payment will be privately financed as we have not raised the total funds required to make payment in full – more on that below.
One additional note – we plan to leave the construction permit open in case we need to add additional sand to the system during the next “Tiger Beetle window,” which extends from October through May. While we are hopeful the system will accrue sand, the effect of major storms, e.g., a prolonged nor’easter, remains to be seen. If funding becomes available, Coastal Design has told us that adding sand to strengthen the northernmost breakwater tombolo is desirable.
As a reminder, the breakwater system was originally expected to cost more than $2 million. Working with Coastal Design and the engineering firm, VHB, we were able to craft an approach that substantially reduced the cost for installation. Notable changes were to:
Negotiate a incremental construction release authorization for each breakwater structure aligned to fundraising,
Leverage a $200K grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to not only buy the design but also to buy the majority of the sand brought to the beach,
Eliminate the southernmost breakwater (largely because the desired location at the southern point of Bavon Beach had eroded away),
Reduce the amount of sand applied in the project, and
Take full advantage of existing coastline geometries.The net result is that the cost of the project is much closer to $1 million. Between the funds provided by FWS, grants from the Mathews Community Foundation and the Luck Companies Foundation, and the generous support of those within our local community, we are just over $100K away from fully paying for this project.While Board members have provided personal guarantees to provide the funds necessary to retire the loan amount if necessary, we remain hopeful that others (even those who have already contributed) will be able to step up and help raise the required funds.
We will continue to follow up with community members and pursue grant opportunities to secure pledges and/or contributions for the balance of the funds required. In the meantime, here are the ways you can contribute:
Make a tax-deductible contribution this year, and/or
Make a pledge to make a similar contribution in 2017 and/or over timethrough September, 2018The financing option would mean a loan over no more than a 24-month period. During this time, we would continue to pursue other means of funding. If you would like to make a first-time/additional pledge, contact a Board member.As mentioned in earlier updates, we have received formal recognition as a 501 (C) (3) organization from the IRS. This means any donation you make to the Foundation is tax deductible in the calendar year in which it is made. We are also able to accept donations of stock and enable electronic transfer of assets from other sources. We suggest you consult your accountant or tax attorney with any questions you may have.
As a reminder, make your checks payable to Friends of the Tiger Beetle and Chesapeake Bay Habitat Foundation.
Checks can be mailed to our Treasurer, Jack Carroll, at:
John F. Carroll, III
9901 West Huguenot Road North Chesterfield, VA 23235
Thanks again for your support of this effort to save the beach and protect the Tiger Beetle’s habitat!
Or you can make a direct donation here:
Thanks again for your support of this effort to save the beach!