Living Shoreline Demonstration Project, Louisiana Photo cutesy of CPRA’s St. Bernard Parish Living Shoreline Demonstration Project, funded by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program
The Tetra Tech team used analytical and numeric modeling to evaluate reef breakwater product alternatives in Louisiana
Photo Courtesy of CPRA’s St. Bernard Parish Living Shoreline Demonstration Project, funded by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program
The Louisiana coastline loses an average of more than 16 square miles of wetlands per year according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) is the single state entity with authority to develop, articulate, implement, and enforce a comprehensive coastal restoration and protection master plan to reduce hurricane storm surge flood impact, restore Louisiana’s bountiful natural resources, build land to protect critical energy infrastructure, and secure Louisiana’s coast now and for future generations. CPRA selected the Tetra Tech team to design a bio-engineered oyster reef demonstration project to show the potential of using reef breakwater product to combat coastal erosion in St. Bernard Parish. This project was funded through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) and is part of Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
The project is located in St. Bernard Parish’s coastal fringe marsh, which is susceptible to high rates of shoreline erosion due to wind-wave action. The project aimed to establish a living shoreline along 21-miles of coastal fringe marsh to dissipate wave energy before it reaches the shoreline thereby protecting vulnerable shoreline and the valuable marsh behind.
The Tetra Tech team evaluated reef breakwater products to serve as a first line of defense for coastal marshes in the project area, helping to sustain the lower Biloxi Marsh. The project’s secondary goals were to allow sediment accretion between the shore and reef to create new land; stimulate oyster growth and increase the biodiversity in the immediate area; and provide CPRA with valuable data on the performance of various configurations of the selected products that can be used to design more effective projects in the future.
Our team evaluated numerous living shoreline products to determine their potential to meet project goals. Products evaluated included A-jax, gabion mattresses, Reefballs, Reefblk, Hesco basket, and OysterBreak.
The Tetra Tech team performed an environmental analysis of each product, including determining its ability to promote oyster growth, thereby increasing the biodiversity in the immediate area. Our team used analytical and numeric modeling to evaluate the shoreline response and performance of the alternatives using parameters including wave attenuation and sediment transport.
The Tetra Tech team’s services for the living shoreline demonstration included:
Recent and historical data collection (topographic, bathymetric, and geotechnical)
Coastal engineering and modeling analysis
Preliminary engineering and design
Construction administration support, primarily ensuring all environmental requirements in the permits and specifications were followed
The engineering and design of the project met all three project goals, and our team obtained all necessary permits on schedule to complete project construction during the grant funding period.
Using living shoreline products to protect coastlines in Louisiana provides ecosystem services not available through traditional shoreline protection techniques. The products evaluated as part of this project will provide habitat for fish and other aquatic species, in addition to providing erosion control and shoreline stabilization. Project construction was completed in November 2016, and CPRA is conducting monitoring to evaluate the results of the living shoreline products’ performance.
First you place the Reef Balls,
then return and plant marsh grass.
Article retrieved from https://www.texassaltwaterfishingmagazine.com/fishing/education/conservation/oyster-lake-shoreline-protection-project-completed
Shoreline degradation is an ongoing issue that challenges coastal habitat up and down the Texas coast. Shoreline degradation is the result of many issues, some manmade and others natural. Manmade issues include development, the creation of channels through sensitive marsh for commercial purposes, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), and others. Natural issues include consistent prevailing winds impacting shorelines, hurricanes, winter storms and other effects of Mother Nature.
CCA Texas’s Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) program has taken part in several projects that were implemented to protect eroding shorelines, re-nourish shorelines and to prevent the breaching of one ecosystem into another. These projects include a joint effort with Ducks Unlimited Texas and others for shoreline protection along the ICW in the JD Murphree Wildlife Management Area and along the ICW just north of the San Bernard River where important fresh water marsh lakes were being threatened by salt water intrusion from the ICW. CCA Texas also worked with Ducks Unlimited and others in Cow Trap Lake (Brazoria County) where marsh shorelines where losing ground to the elements yearly. Other efforts included those with TPWD in Bird Island Cove in West Galveston Bay and Snake Island Cove with the Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF), also in West Galveston Bay.
The latest effort to help protect and restore shoreline degradation was recently completed on the far western end of West Galveston Bay along the Oyster Lake shoreline. This shoreline separates West Galveston Bay from Oyster Lake, a sensitive estuary lake accessible from the ICW and connecting creeks from Bastrop Bay. Over time, it is estimated that over 650 feet of shoreline has been lost on the West Galveston Bay side, and 150 feet on the Oyster Lake side since the 1940s due to prevailing wind, currents and hurricanes. Furthermore, the rate of erosion appeared to be accelerating, as since 1995, up to 175 feet of shoreline was lost on the West Bay side and 55 feet from Oyster Lake side. This project was a multi-phase undertaking that used different types of breakwaters designed specifically for shoreline protection and re-nourishment, and stretches across approximately 5,200 linear feet of critical habitat.
Phase I of the project placed 950 feet of shoreline breakwater along the West Galveston Bay and Oyster Lake shorelines. Another 500 linear feet of reef balls were place along the West Galveston Bay shoreline in a 3-wide configuration, and an additional 450 linear feet along the Oyster Lake shoreline in September 2013. The impacts of the breakwater were seen quickly and between September 2013 and June 2014 in the natural deposition of 1,100 cubic yards of material accumulating behind the breakwaters, thereby triggering the rebuilding process. In June 2014, volunteers planted more than 2,000 smooth cord grass sprigs covering .75 acres in the area between the existing shoreline and the breakwater on the West Galveston Bay side. This cord grass was provided by project partner NRG and, since the original planting, the grass has been spreading and filling in the entire planted area.
Phase II construction began in October 2015. This phase of the project utilized limestone riprap to form the breakwater. This breakwater was built in segmented fashion to allow water to flow freely in and out behind the breakwater and deposit materials that will eventually rebuild the shorelines. Phase II was completed in early January 2016 and 4,786 feet of breakwater that protects 5,150 feet of shoreline are now in place to protect Oyster Lake and the vital ecosystem services that it provides. The final steps in the project are to accomplish baseline data collection for annual monitoring and developing a grass planting strategy for the entire project.
Partnerships are crucial in completing projects such as these and CCA Texas is proud to have been a part of the project through the direct contribution of $200,000. This was important as it established groundwork for GBF to secure another $270,000 in matching dollars. These funds along with other funds from project partners bring together many groups in the common cause to help protect and restore vital coastal habitat along the Texas coast. Project partners included Galveston Bay Foundation, CCA Texas, Ducks Unlimited, NOAA, Texas General Land Office, Galveston Bay Estuary Program, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s – Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
There are some Reef Balls that seem to be way underwater along the texas coast. One of the sites I have been watching is Oyster Lake. The image below shows a lot of sediment moving down the rivers and into the Gulf. My hope is to find that the Reef Balls have captured a lot of sediment. Time will tell.
There is a sequence of before and after that is also interesting as the image of the day. That link will probably change over time.
It will be at the American Fisheries Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL
Today I was impressed seeing photos at various tidal levels of the Reef Ball Project Stratford Pt. CT
It looks like it was a cold day as the group planted marsh grass that will add to the resilience and create a carbon sink. Thanks for the great work and I love sharing it on Ocean Week.
You can follow the Group at https://www.facebook.com/pg/StratfordPoint/videos/?ref=page_internal
You might want to talk to Professor Jennifer Mattei who’s project has shown great success. Or just listen to this video
Read the article from Sacred Harts University at
Living Shorelines are more than just a breakwater. You want it to meet the needs of the people as well as a wide variety of organisms. Think back to why we feel we need to do something. The answer is simple in the developing world man has had a major impact. No, many of the systems are over stressed and we need to find better ways to enjoy the water we love and have a viable healthy food source. There is some great research going on in the North East. I hope you will take this information and build on it in your region. We at Reef Innovations are happy to share successes and ideas for your project. Horseshoe crabs and sea turtles also need access to the shoreline. J.McFarlane
Late 2016 more Reef Balls hit the coast of CT at the site of a pilot project designed for the accretion of soil and protection of marsh grasses. The pilot project was successful and now, the protected area has increased. This is a great example of how other estuaries in the NE could protect area’s from erosion,
The Reef Balls were constructed at Reef Innovations site in Sarasota, FL and trucked to CT. There was some discussion of building in CT but the aggregate would be garnite instead of the Florida limerock used in the pilot project. Observation in Jim McFarlane’s surveys of sites from CT to LA showed few encrusting species on granite. McFarlane’s belief was that Reef Balls more resembled a natural oyster reef structure when made with materials from Sarasota. The practice of constructing Reef Balls with local materials in one used around the world, so it would be easy for someone to do a study in about every ecosystem you can imagine. I look forward to someone doing some surveys of the Stratford Point site during high tides, as an evaluation of plagic species visiting the area.
This article was retrieved from the CT Post Dec 2017 http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Creating-a-living-shoreline-with-Reef-Balls-10778523.php#item-38492 Photo comments were added by J.McFarlane
STRATFORD — Jennifer Mattei crouched along the low-tide mark 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 to restore the beach.
Her meandering rows of 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 — enough for Mattei to win another grant to expand her work.
A swath of sediment estimated at four feet deep and 100 feet wide has disappeared along the of shoreline over the past three decades. The property is now owned by the DuPont Corp. 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.
The just-announced $115,198 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fundwill be used this summer, with the aid of a team of Sacred Heart students, to plant thousands of marsh grass plugs along the shoreline in front of 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 that now call them home.
At one time, reefs made of clinging oysters protected the shoreline. They disappeared centuries ago.
It was the oysters, the horseshoe crabs, the piping plover and all other species, Mattei said, that 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 level is rising,” Mattei said. “Storm frequency is increasing. Global climate change is real.”
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, they are rare 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 she expects to be dredged next fall from the nearby boat channel at the mouth of the Housatonic River, 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.