With over 900 Reef Balls deployed this is truly a great cooperative effort. Watch the video to see how they were deployed and why. Then think creatively about a project for your area. Oysters are important and we have lost so many in the waters around the world. What will you to to restore marine habitat?
Everyone working on projects along our coast and waterways should think about attending this training. Great reason to head to Gainesville.
More information and sign up at the link above.
“One of our projects, Morris Landing, seemed untouched by the hurricane; the sill structure looked as it did before and that’s the point of them,” Skrabal said, a coastal scientist with the federation.
The comparative studies or living shoreline treatments by The North Carolina Coastal Federation, shows the value of homeowners taking steps other than bulkheads to protect their shoreline from erosion during high energy events.
Prior to the hurricane I surveyed the site that consists of rows of Reef Balls that have oysters growing on the. The site also compares Shell Baggs, A freestanding bulkhead, granite riprap, and loose oyster shell.
It was great hearing they didn’t have any loss of shoreline at this site during the storm. A 360degree video of the Morris landing site is at http://reefinnovations.com/archives/4383
Article Retrieved from: http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/12/living-shorelines-withstand-matthews-force/
Living Shorelines Withstand Matthew’s Force
Third in a multi-part series
HOLLY RIDGE – When Hurricane Matthew approached North Carolina in October, many in the state – from scientists to casual observers – watched to see the effects on shorelines. Storm surge and increased wave action can visibly wear away the coast. How would properties with bulkheads fare? Or, for those with wetlands conservation in mind, would living shorelines deliver what they promised?
Living shorelines are designed to protect vulnerable marsh habitats. In the case of hurricanes, though, living shorelines are also meant to be filters of stormwater runoff and to mitigate the erosion caused by the water that inevitably comes with the storms.
Larry Jansen chose his home in Holly Ridge’s Preserve at Morris Landing in part because of water and coastal access. As a volunteer with the North Carolina Coastal Federation, he’s been watching the 310-foot living shoreline completed there in July as the fifth phase of an ongoing restoration project, and he returned to the site soon after the hurricane passed through.
“I couldn’t really see any impact at all,” Jansen said.
Living shoreline proponents say that’s no surprise.
“For the most part, these shorelines are behaving exactly the way we expect them to,” said Tracy Skrabal, a coastal scientist with the federation.
Living shorelines are generally made with a permeable sill, such as bagged oyster shells or rock, that follows the natural slope of the land, with marsh grasses and other wetland plants behind.
“When the water rushes up, there’s nothing impeding the flow,” Skrabal said. So, they are designed for the water to come in and go back out.
Although these observations are a good sign, there is more meticulous work being done in the aftermath of the hurricane. Carter Smith is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.
“It started about a year and a half ago, with the goal of comparing how bulkheads, living shorelines and natural shorelines perform in major storm events,” Smith said of the research.
In the weeks since the hurricane, Smith has visited the project’s 30 study sites from Southport to Manteo.
At each, there are comparable shoreline structures that will face similar storm surge and wave energy. For the purposes of the study, living shorelines are those that have had some type of restoration work, such as the addition of marsh sills and aquatic plantings, and natural shorelines are unmodified. Both are compared to the hardened bulkhead type structures that are common along the coast. In the coming months, Smith will work on assessing the post-storm effects. Right now, though, she has made some preliminary findings.
“For the living shorelines, I would say there are no detectable instances of damage,” Smith said. For natural shorelines, there was measurable marsh erosion. “In some cases, a loss of over five meters (about 16.4 feet) from last year.”
Some bulkheads remained intact, but there are some stretches where bulkheads were damaged. Hardened structures such as bulkheads can fail in a number of ways during storms and the damage is often obvious.
“What we see is that the vertical surface of bulkheads is more susceptible to high-energy events,” Skrabal said. “And storm waves can scour away what’s in front of them.”
The same can happen behind the bulkhead, when saltwater overlaps the structure and weakens it, causing structural damage or collapse.
Smith’s project also includes conducting boat surveys along 100 kilometers, or about 62 miles, of North Carolina shorelines, taking photos and noting the location coordinates of damaged structures.
“I would say that at least 50 percent of the bulkheads we surveyed were damaged, from minor damage to full-on collapse,” Smith said.
A post-storm assessment is also expected to be released by the Division of Coastal Management, analyzing how sills, marshes and bulkheads fared during the storm.
For years, coastal conservationists have been championing living shorelines for protection of marsh habitat.
“When you look at bulkheads, they ecologically bisect the habitat,” Skrabal said. “Marsh needs sediment, and they (bulkheads) tend to starve them of that with erosion and wave energy.”
Conservationists also have been encouraging property owners to consider living shorelines for better, more sustainable protection of their property. But bulkheads are by far the most popular choice for property owners. A previous study from the Institute of Marine Sciences estimates that as much as 9 to 16 percent of the coast is protected with bulkheads, and permits for bulkheads are easier to obtain. Whereas, it can be more difficult, months-long process to get permits needed to install a living shoreline. Bulkheads are more expensive, though, and can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the length of the shoreline.
“And the cost of repairing bulkheads after storms is considerable, too,” Skrabal said. It is her hope that the example of how well living shorelines did during the storm will convince more homeowners to consider them rather than repairing or replacing bulkheads.
“One of our projects, Morris Landing, seemed untouched by the hurricane; the sill structure looked as it did before and that’s the point of them,” Skrabal said.
This resiliency is something Erin Fleckenstein, a coastal scientist with the federation’s northeast office, has noticed, too. She cited a homeowner at Silver Lake Harbor on Ocracoke Island who had a living shoreline built there this past summer.
“Before, they were facing considerable erosion, mostly due to ferry traffic,” Fleckenstein said. But the owner reached out to Fleckenstein after the hurricane and made a point of saying how pleased they were with the erosion control and how well the shoreline did.
Creating a ‘living shoreline’ with Reef Balls
Updated 6:25 pm, Tuesday, December 6, 2016
STRATFORD — Jennifer Mattei crouched down along the low-tide shoreline at Stratford Point to scoop up a mound of inky gray sediment in the palm of her hand.
It is proof, the Sacred Heart University biology professor said, that her Reef Balls are working.
Meandering rows of the thousand-pound dome-shaped cement balls create an artificial reef. Each ball is punctuated with holes that allow the tide and small sea creatures through. Over the past couple years the reef, planted just off shore, has begun to not only stop erosion but reverse it.
“It’s working beautifully,” Mattei said Tuesday of what many in the field call a “living shoreline.”
It is estimated that sediment, up to four feet deep and 100 feet wide has disappeared along that swath of shoreline over the past three decades. The property is now owned by the DuPont Corporation and managed by the Audubon Society.
So far, surveyors periodically measuring the terrain estimate sediment about 12 inches thick has re-accumulated over the past two years behind the barrier — enough for Mattei to win another $115,198 grant to expand her work.
The just announced National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant will be used this summer, with the aid of a team of Sacred Heart students, to plant thousands of marsh grass plugs into the shore line upland from the barrier.
The pilot study began with 64 Reef Balls. This November, another 327 were added with the help of DuPont and the Army Corps of Engineers. Mattei checks on them periodically, searching for signs of algae, barnacles and any oysters who now call them home.
Reefs made of clinging oysters used to protect the shoreline. They disappeared centuries ago.
It was the oysters, the horseshoe crabs, the piping clover and all other habitat, Mattei admits, who got her into this kind of research. Those creatures depend on the shoreline and their access has been compromised by decades of beach erosion and climate change.
“The ocean floor is rising. Storm frequency is increasing. Global climate change is real,” Mattei said.
Seawalls don’t help. They hurt. When waves crash against them, sediment is pulled away from the shore and sea creatures lose access to the shore.
Mattei hit upon the idea of Reef Balls, which got their start in Florida to protect coral. The are made with a special cement formula that resists erosion and heavy enough to withstand hurricanes. The holes are positioned so that when a wave hits, the water shoots through more gently.
Although used worldwide, Mattei is believed to be the only one to use them in Connecticut.
Scientists like Juliana Barrett, with the University of Connecticut Center for Land Use Education and Research hopes that will soon change.
Barrett said state law now severely restricts the construction of traditional seawalls. Mattei’s project is a great example of an alternative.
“What she is doing is really, really important,” Barrett, said. “She is creating a living shoreline I hope will be replicated. She has the most extensive project going on.”
In addition to rebuilding dunes and salt marsh grass, Mattei said she also has her eye on sediment expected to be dredged next fall from the nearby boat channel at the mouth of the Housatonic River, which is on the opposite end of Stratford’s beach front.
Although some is earmarked for Hammonasett Beach in Madison, Mattei said, some directed her way would speed up her stabilization project.
“I hope this can become a demonstration site for what to do,” Mattei said.
Article Retreived from http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Creating-a-living-shoreline-with-Reef-Balls-10778523.php#photo-12000856
Restore America’s Estuaries’ is dedicated to the protection and restoration of bays and estuaries as essential resources for our nation.
This Saturday starts the week with emphasis on Estuaries.
What do you have planned?
The Watershed Project is an NGO based in Richmond, CA that inspires Bay Area communities to understand, appreciate and protect our local watersheds.
My first engagement with the organization was at Bubbles and Bivalves, their annual fundraiser at the Aquarium of the Bay on Pier 39 in San Francisco. Much of their programming and activities align with what Hustleshuck is trying to do as far as using oysters to get people more connected to (improving) the marine environment. Their flagship project is a set of artificial oyster reefs located on the tide flats at Point Pinole on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay.
Several times a year a group of volunteers go out to monitor the reef in order to get a sense of the state of the native oyster population. Olympia oysters are the only species of oyster native to the West coast. There wasn’t much of a commercial industry for them in the San Francisco Bay as there was further north in Oregon or Washington, however they still played a crucial role in the estuarine ecosystem. Across the globe, oysters are recognized as a keystone species in coastal environments thanks to their habitat forming and water filtering capacities.
These ecosystem services were lost when sedimentation and declining water quality created an inhabitable environment for oysters in the San Francisco Bay. Like similar projects in New York Harbor and Chesapeake Bay, The Watershed Project is trying to reestablish native oysters in San Francisco Bay in the hopes of improving the health of the environment, regaining some of the biodiversity that was lost, and connecting local inhabitants to the history and promise of the Bay as a natural and cultural resource.
It was an early to start to get over to Point Pinole by 7am. We had to take advantage of the low morning tide in order to have enough time to collect our data before the reefs once again became submerged in bay water. We paired up in teams of two and set about analyzing the number and size of oysters on the reef balls as well as determining what else was growing on them and in the area.
Our surveying method consisted of randomly selecting a 6”x6” area on the north side of randomly selected reef balls. With about 30 individual areas observed we could get a good overall sense of the health of population at this site. I was blown away by the number of oysters we found, as well as the amount of algae and other invertebrates living on and around the reef balls. It definitely seemed to be a high energy environment, remarkably similar to oyster farming sites in the concentration and diversity of organisms.
All-in-all it was a successful outing. I’d never seen so many Olys (as Olypmia oysters are commonly known) in the wild. The reefs were also clearly creating habitat for other animals like grass shrimp, which are a key prey species for striped bass, shad, and other fish.
I’ll be curious to see how things will have changed on the next outing later in Fall. Stay tuned!
Retreived from Bay Daily http://cbf.typepad.com/bay_daily/2010/11/exciting-news-from-a-troubled-river.html
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) scientists are finding lots of healthy, fast-growing oysters in Norfolk’s Lafayette River, a tributary of the Elizabeth River. The discovery bodes well for improving water quality – and restoring a thriving oyster population – in this historic river.
but troubled waterway whose four branches (Western Branch, Eastern Branch, Southern Branch and Lafayette) drain four cities and some of South Hampton Roads’ most industrialized areas. As a result, the Elizabeth system is among the Bay’s worst pollution “hot spots,” with some areas containing bottom sediments laden with toxic chemicals from decades-old pollution.The Lafayette River, bordered largely by homes, museums, marinas, and marshes, is less severely polluted but remains among the most urbanized rivers in the Bay watershed. It suffers from many of the Bay’s classic problems: too much runoff, too many algal blooms, too much bacteria, and too little oxygen.
CBF, the Elizabeth River Project, the City of Norfolk, and other partners are working with theVirginia Institute of Marine Science to restore water quality in the river. All believe that oyster restoration will be integral to success.
To that end, CBF is expanding the number of volunteer citizen oyster gardeners in the Lafayette. Additionally, last summer we placed 50 concrete reef balls, many of them coated with a skin of living baby oysters, or spat, in the river to create a manmade reef. We hoped the reef balls would prove suitable homes for the baby oysters as well as attract and grow more wild oysters.
CBF scientists also began a comprehensive survey of the oyster population in the Lafayette, examining 22 miles of shoreline to look for oysters. We also recruited scores of waterfront residents to participate in a “spat catcher” program.
Spat catchers — small cages containing 50 recycled oyster shells – were suspended from more than 80 residents’ backyard piers and docks. We wanted to see how many free-floating baby oysters in the river would attach to the shells. By later comparing the numbers of spat in the various shell cages, CBF oyster scientists hoped to determine which parts of the Lafayette may hold the greatest potential for future oyster restoration efforts.
Last weekend, a CBF team of scientists, interns, and volunteers pulled up the spat catchers and tallied the results. Here is how CBF Oyster Restoration and Fisheries Scientist Tommy Leggett described it:
“This is one of the most exciting things I think we’ve ever done…We had some of the most remarkable spat sets on the shells that I’ve ever seen in the wild, and especially for the Elizabeth River system. Some shells had spat numbers that rivaled what we produce in our spat-on-shell tanks (at CBF’s oyster farm). “ For example, the shell in the photo at left had a remarkable 28 spat attached (photo by Chip Finch).
A few days later, Leggett, CBF Oyster Restoration Specialist Jackie Shannon, and CBF Reef Ball Technician Laura Engelund inspected the concrete reef balls CBF placed in the Lafayette last June.
“We’ve been anxiously wondering how the oyster spat on the reef balls fared over the summer and didn’t quite know what to expect once we got back this week,” Engelund said. “We were amazed at the size of the oysters! In four months they have grown from baby spat to near market size. They are significantly larger than we anticipated and cover the reef balls nearly 100 percent. We put in a couple of reef balls without spat and were pleased to find a natural set growing quite nicely on those as well. The reef balls we planted without spat are easy to recognize in the photographs: smaller oysters and fewer in number. But they all got there by themselves!”
Pictures are worth a thousand blogging words, so take a look at what’s happening in the Lafayette.
What does it all mean for the river’s future? The preliminary data suggest there’s a healthy oyster population in the Lafayette River, says Leggett (below, center, with Jackie Shannon, left, and Laura Engelund, right, and one of the Lafayette reef balls).
“But the river has limited habitat for baby oysters to settle upon. Most of the natural oyster bars/rocks are gone, silted over, or have sunk beneath the river bottom. What the river needs now is more oyster shell or hard substrate like reef balls for oysters to attach to.”
And Leggett added, “Efforts to improve water quality by reducing nitrogen from sewage treatment plants and runoff from lawns and storm drains will provide better conditions for a recovering oyster population.”
CBF and its Lafayette River partners will be working to address these issues in the months and years to come. Stay tuned for more good news!
By Chuck Epes
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Written by: Laura Wood
Once so chock-full that Native Americans called it “great shellfish bay,” the Chesapeake has long since seen its oyster population decimated by overharvesting, pollution, and disease.
This is bad news for the Bay, and its rivers and streams. CBF’s Oyster Restoration and Fisheries Scientist Tommy Leggett explains, “Oysters are important to cleaning up the Bay. They filter huge amounts of water; nearly 50 gallons a day during the warmer months, and they grow in reefs that are home to many other Bay critters”—including blue crabs, striped bass, redfish, black drum, bluefish, white perch, speckled trout, and spot.
But, with support from friends like The Orvis Company, CBF is working to bring this vital species back from the brink.
Every year, with the help of thousands of volunteers, CBF plants tens of millions of baby oysters, builds and submerges hundreds of oyster reef balls onto protected sanctuary reefs in the waters of both Maryland and Virginia, collects oyster shells that are recycled into oyster reefs, works with local watermen on oyster aquaculture, and, runs a successful oyster gardener program.
Since 1998, CBF has planted more than 130 million oysters on 150 sanctuary reefs throughout the Bay. In what the Washington Post called a “modern day Lazarus story”, CBF’s work has helped reverse the oysters decline. In 2011, Virginia harvested the most oysters since 1989—roughly 236,000 bushels (up from 79,600 in 2005), and Maryland hauled in 121,000 (more than quadrupling its harvest from 2005 of 26,000). Not only that, but in Maryland, their 2011 oyster survey showed the highest survival rate since 1985—92 percent—a sign that our continued efforts are paying off.
Working with partners like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CBF is focusing its oyster restoration efforts on specific tributaries—Harris Creek, Severn River, and the Choptank and Little Choptank Rivers in Maryland, and the Lafayette, Elizabeth, and Piankatank Rivers in Virginia.
CBF knows we’re not going to save the Bay without oysters. With the help of partners like The Orvis Company, we’re restoring hope, not just for the Bay’s native oyster population, but for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams.