Professor Secures Grant Funding to Expand Stratford Point 'Living Shoreline'

News Story: November 17, 2016

Biology Professor Jennifer Mattei and Instructor Jo-Marie Kasinak, at far left,
were among those on hand for the Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant presentation.

Sacred Heart University biology professor Jennifer Mattei has secured grant funding for the expansion of a project to reverse erosion along a section of Stratford’s shoreline.

Mattei partnered with Audubon Connecticut (conservation stewards) and the DuPont Company (land owners) of Stratford Point to install Connecticut’s first ‘living shoreline’ to restore coastal habitats to maintain their resiliency and function in the face of climate change. Two years ago, a pilot project was installed using 64 cement reef balls, each weighing 1,500 pounds and measuring three feet by four feet. As a result of these structures, in just two years, sand deposits rose 12 inches both behind and in some areas in front of the reef.

With success came the need for expansion. That’s now underway, with financial support from the Audubon Connecticut’s In-Lieu Fee Program (ILFP), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF), the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) and DuPont.

The project team will use a $91,000 grant from CIRCA to purchase most of the 273 reef balls needed to protect another 750 feet of Stratford Point shoreline. Because restoring the shoreline to its once-thriving state requires more than the cement structures, the ILFP is providing $250,000 to restore lower and upper marsh habitat along the length of the living shoreline, and LISFF—a group that has funded other SHU projects in the past—has contributed $115,198 for the restoration of a mosaic of dune/grassland habitats above the upper marsh. DuPont is providing funds for the installation of the reef and support for maintenance of the site. Audubon CT will provide numerous volunteer hours assisting with the care of the plants and monitoring the use of the new habitats by birds and other wildlife.

“The living shoreline is working beautifully, stopping erosion and allowing sediments to be deposited on the cobble beach,” Mattei said. “The marsh grasses are growing in faster and taller than an adjacent area planted at the same time without the protective reef. We are extremely grateful to our partners for their support of this project. Without their generosity, it wouldn’t be possible.”

More information can be found at

Reef ball installation at Stratford Point