A MAJOR project launched to recharge Mersea Island by using dredged material from a multi-million pound initiative has finally been completed.

The Save Mersea Harbour plan saw 98,000 m3 of sand and gravel recharged to Cobmarsh, Packing Marsh and Old Hall Point in Mersea Quarters as well as at Shinglehead Point at Tollesbury Wick.

The dredged material came from the £120 million project privately funded by the Harwich Haven Authority, which will deepen the Harwich Harbour and make room for mega ships.

Over the past few years, Mersea’s Harbour has been under severe threat from the rising sea levels, which were causing parts of the island to be eroded.

Thank to the recharge, the site can now remain active and usable, while protecting important wildlife sites and oyster beds.

READ MORE: >> Multi-million harbour project helps recharge Essex island Led by the Mersea Harbour Protection Trust, a group of volunteers, the project was launched back in 2014.

Mark Dixon, voluntary technical advisor for the Mersea Trust, said:”The new beaches will not only provide superb nesting sites for rare shorebirds, but will help protect Mersea Harbour from storm waves and provide a great barrier to help with climate change adaption as sea levels rise.

“Future management of the new beaches will be by the RSPB to ensure protection to nesting birds and a balance with water users who want to enjoy the areas outside of the nesting season.”

As part of the initiative, brushwood fencing has also been installed at two locations to prevent material from moving into any navigable channels.

The project will also ensure waterfront properties and businesses no longer come under threat from increasing storm wave action.

The Harwich Haven Authority, has pledged £1.2 million towards the project, together with the Environment Agency which has contributed almost £300,000 towards the recharge costs as well as funding essential pre and post recharge monitoring.

A spokesman for the Harwich Haven Authority said: "We are delighted to have been able to support the Mersea Harbour Trust with the recharging project on the Island.

“Ensuring that dredged materials from our £120 million channel deepening project in Harwich Harbour are used beneficially was integral to our project plans.

"In addition we have also used dredged materials to recharge Horsey Island, Hamford Waters, Essex, to protect the nesting habitat of the largest colony of Little Terns in Essex.

“We have very much enjoyed working with the Mersea Island project team who have tirelessly to get the works completed.”