Local Attorneys to Return to Site of Floating Junkyard

The restoration of a badly damaged shoreline along the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River continues this Saturday morning August 27 from 10 a.m. – Noon with the planting of native wetlands grasses.

On August 13, some 50 volunteers from the law firm of Pender & Coward in Virginia Beach, Kerr Environmental Services, Bridge Trust Title, City of Norfolk, and a local Boy Scout troop spent several hours picking up a ton or more of trash, most of it left behind by some 30 rusting vessels in an inlet near the Campostella Bridge. A P&C environmental attorney, Jim Lang, organized the effort after filing a court action that forced the owner to remove the ships. Lang’s client wanted the “floating junkyard” removed because it interfered with his use of the water at his property.

Lang and several P&C staff will return on August 27 from 10 a.m.-Noon along with experts from the Elizabeth River Project to plant native wetland grasses that will restore the shore and protect the Elizabeth River from pollution. News crews wishing to cover the planting should wear boots because of muddy soil. They can reach the site by entering the Riverside Memorial Park at 1000 East Indian River in Norfolk and following signs to the rear of the cemetery.

“We didn’t want to just walk away from this issue after the vessels left,” said Lang. “So we decided to clean up the trash and joining with the Elizabeth River Project to actually restore the shore.” The planting will benefit a section that was largely undamaged by the ships. The rest of the shore , says Lang, can be planted after a much greater modification in the form of sand placement and grading that will create a proper planting zone for the native wetlands grasses.

That process will require assistance from City of Norfolk engineers as well as a permit from the Norfolk Wetlands Board, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. The restoration could take up to a year and a half to complete.