A riverbank stabilization project on a 1,500 foot stretch of land on the Tennessee River at Moccasin Bend National Archaeological District is nearing completion. The project is a cooperative venture between the National Park Service and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
When it appeared a contract bid might be abnormally high, the Nashville District Planning Branch of the Corps proposed taking on the job itself, according to Amanda Burt, Corps project manager. The work involved installation of circular mesh fiber wattle to mitigate erosion, as well as the planting of 500 tree saplings.
Ms. Burt said the project is saving Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP at Moccasin Bend more than $100,000. The trees will be monitored for 18 months to ensure their survival.
Moccasin Bend is a peninsula formed by a prominent Bend in the Tennessee River. It is located west and just across the river from downtown Chattanooga. The district contains nationally significant archaeological sites that chronicle some 12,000 years of continuous Native American occupation.
This project is important to the National Military Park because several miles of the riverbank are eroding, threatening the park’s cultural resources, officials said.
Jim Szyjkowski, chief of resource management for the park and the project’s liaison, said protecting the area from further erosion is critical to the NPS mission.
“The river itself was eating away at the resources and washing them away,” Mr. Szyjkowski said. “So it was very important for us to stabilize the bank to prevent this loss of archaeological resources.”
The protection of artifacts and burial sites at Moccasin Bend is of consequence to numerous Native American tribes and to the nation’s historical heritage.
The partnership began in December 2010 with a ceremony that included NPS and Corps officials as well as former 3rd District U.S. Rep Zack Wamp.
Rep. Wamp is credited with championing legislation for the riverbank stabilization to protect the heritage of Moccasin Bend. During the ceremony he stressed how grateful he was for the partnership between the NPS and the Corps.
“These are two of the good agencies of the federal government that do real important work,” Rep. Wamp said.