Virginia Institute of Marine Science
New Point Comfort is located at the southern tip of Mathews County (Figure 1) between Chesapeake and Mobjack Bays. The New Point Comfort Lighthouse itself is on an island (Figure 2) that was once attached to the mainland but is now almost 0.6 miles from the mainland and only 0.33 acres in area above mean low water. Previous studies have highlighted the problems which contribute to the instability of the island. McKay (2003) listed these factors which may allow continued erosion and potential damage up to and including the base of the lighthouse itself: rise in sea level, low base grade of the lighthouse, low crest of the existing rock revetment, not enough mass or numbers of rock in the revetment to fully dissipate the wave energy before it reaches the soil below, improper grading of the revetment rock where smaller rocks are inside and larger rocks on the outer layers, inadequately sized stone for the outer armor to combat the “design event”, inadequate lateral space between the crest of the revetment and the lighthouse to reduce the effects of wave run-up, wave overtopping and spray reaching the lighthouse structure. In fact, McKay (2003) rated the integrity and stability of the rock revetment around the lighthouse as poor to grave and would not remain intact after experiencing a large storm event. This report will provide the necessary steps to be taken for immediate preservation of the lighthouse. A survey of existing conditions was performed as was a review of existing data. Storm surge levels were determined by analyzing data and models available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Hydrodynamic modeling of storm events showed their environmental impact including the wave climate and water levels impacting the lighthouse under energetic conditions so that proper rock size, structure height, slope and toe size can be determined. The minimum stabilization solution consists of increasing the dimensions of the existing armor stone revetment that surrounds the light house.
Shoreline Management, New Point Comfort Lighthouse, Preservation
Hardaway, C., Milligan, D. A., O'Brien, K. P., & Wilcox, C. A. (2008) New Point Comfort Lighthouse Mathews, Virginia Site Assessment Plan. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. https://doi.org/10.21220/V5902X