After our beach project was completed, we observed that water flow in the Potomac was washing sand into and out of the beach area. After studying the matter, we decided to close up the gap on the west end of the beach area by installing a “gabion basket” filled with rocks in the gap between the western spur and the old breakwater.
A gabion basket is a basket made of steel wire — here’s a photo of a wall made of gabion baskets.
We had a gabion basket approximately 16 feet long X 4 feet wide X 5 feet deep. On June a5 and 18 we installed the basket into the gap and filled it with boulders.
First, we had to pick up the boulders, supplied by Vance Headley in Heathsville.
We used two methods to get the stones from the trucks out to the basket, a distance of about 150 feet into the river. All work was manual labor using hand tools, no power equipment was used.
One method of transporting the stones from the shore out to the gabion basket was to slide the stones down planks into a garden cart, submerged in the river. When the cart was filled with stones, pull the cart out to the basket and move the stones into the basket.
The other method was to use a pulley system. We embedded a post into the river bank beside the gabion basket. From that post we ran a steel cable to the bank where we tied it onto Frank’s truck. We then suspended a 5-gallon bucket from a pulley on the steel cable. We used ropes tied to the bucket to pull it back and forth. Joe would lift rocks into the bucket, Frank would pull the bucket out to the basket and dump the rocks, then Joe would pull the empty bucket back to the shore and repeat.
Here’s the finished product. The gabion basket, filled with stones, can be seen just protruding above the surface of the water at the left of the old breakwater.