Originally a marsh, the land was filled with dredge spoil in the 1970s, turning it into a greyfield. The project site is located within the city limits of Virginia Beach, Virginia. It was slated for development in 2008. However, this project preserves the land’s ecological functioning, providing opportunities for CBF to protect the parcel’s varied habitats and wildlife. The Brock Center was sited to minimize impact to the successional landscape, limiting development beyond a 200-foot setback of wetlands/shore, clustering site elements along the edge of the successional maritime forest. Aggressive limits-of-disturbance were established to minimize impacts to the site during construction. A master plan for CBF’s parcel and adjacent natural areas will guide the restoration of the site back to thriving ecosystems. Remnants of maritime forest that border the site’s northern edge were preserved. CBF has reestablished once naturally occurring wetlands along the shoreline. Marshes formerly filled with dredge spoils are now experiencing ecological succession, and thereby transformation into vibrant salt meadows. Protecting these habitats has supported wildlife on the site. At least 122 species of birds have been identified using the site including for vital migration open space habitat. The northern diamond-backed terrapin, a species of concern, uses the property for nesting and foraging, primarily within one hundred feet of the edge of the tidal waters. Not only does the project protect the critical flora and fauna of the region, but the thriving habitats also allow CBF to use the center as a living classroom in its educational programs.
Photo: Courtesy of Dave Chance