Brunswick Town Fort Anderson State Historic Site Receives $2 Million Grant Award to Stabilize Shoreline

WINNABOW

The shoreline at a state historic site on the Cape Fear River in Brunswick County soon will be stabilized.

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources has been awarded a grant by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to protect a portion of the shoreline deemed historically significant at the Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site. The NFWF approved the $2,002,500 grant request that will fund the installation of an artificial reef system along 1,000 feet of the shore to protect the site.

This project addresses priority conservation needs in Brunswick County, which received a federal disaster declaration as a result of Hurricane Florence.

The BTFA Shoreline Restoration Project is a collaborative effort between DNCR, UNC Wilmington, Scenic Consulting Group (formerly North State Engineering) and the N.C. Division of Coastal Management.

The reef system is expected to reduce erosion from future hurricanes, flooding, and commercial ship traffic alongside the site. In addition, this living shoreline system will protect wildlife in the salt marshes, provide habitat for oysters, crabs and finfish, and safeguard the site’s precious historical resources from washing up and into the Cape Fear River.

"Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson has a long history of being impacted by hurricanes and flooding," said N.C. Division of State Historic Sites Director Michelle Lanier. " This project will enable the site to continue serving as a community hub, providing free education, recreation and tourism opportunities that bring revenue to the local economy, while preserving North Carolina's cultural heritage and promoting biodiversity along the shoreline. We are grateful to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for investing in our project."

A major pre-Revolutionary port on North Carolina’s Cape Fear River, Brunswick was razed by British troops in 1776 and was never rebuilt. During the Civil War, Fort Anderson was constructed atop the old village site, and served as part of the Cape Fear River defenses below Wilmington before the fall of the Confederacy.

The site was closed to the public for more than eight months after Hurricane Florence, which brought more than three feet of water to BTFA. The site lost electricity, and floodwaters inundated the museum, creating the perfect environment for mold to flourish and endangering valuable artifacts.