Development would harm ecosystem

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

According to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Morris Creek and Town Farm Creek have 155 acres and 75 acres, respectively, of marshes immediately next to the proposed Mallory Scott development.

These marshes are known spawning and nursery grounds for fish. They provide a wide variety of wildlife habitat and foods, producing 3-4 tons per acre per year of detritus, plant material that decays in the aquatic system.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As tidal marshes, total flushing is provided for this decayed material into the major marine food web. (Almost a 1,000 tons per year.) Environmentally, concern is not that deer are displaced but that irreplaceable spawning and nursery ground and marine food are irreparably degraded or lost to development drainage, fertilizer, pesticides and exhaust.

The two eagle nests presently in Morris Creek testify to its environmental sensitivity. In retrospect an earlier Mallory Point rezoning for 265 units was a mistake.

The “Chickahominy Silt Loam” soil type, 115 acres of which is in the Mallory Scott development, has high shrink/swell potential, is extremely acid 3.6-5.5 pH. The soil has low permeability, drains slowly and is subject to ponding. Part of it becomes plastic at 15% moisture content, which will lead to some foundations sinking and cracking in 15-20 years, similar to Yemassee Find Sandy Loam. The seasonal high water table is between the surface and a depth of 6 inches in winter and early spring.

Statistically, a number of Mallory Scott lots will flood and be sold to unwitting buyers. The low fertility of the Chickahominy soil will call for quarterly fertilizing of entrances, roadways and lawns, further degrading environmental areas.

It really is unfathomable that this high-density plan is being considered, almost a mile by a mile. Solid development from Battery Park to South Church is contrary to a VIMS summary for the Pagan system, i.e. “The creeks’ present use as low density residential & agricultural areas should be continued” (Shore Situation Report. Subsegment summaries, Isle of Wight County, VA).


Thomas Finderson