I’m not surprised are you? This is a great article if you wonder if you can see fish and Reef Balls on your fish finder.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources sponsored a 2003 field test to assess the suitability of Reef Balls for catching a natural oyster spat set. The Maryland Environmental Service contracted the project and coordinated and managed the deployment. The original plan was to place 75 Reef Balls in the oyster sanctuary east of Point Lookout. Since this was a field test rather than a fishing reef, Tom O’Connell, MD DNR ‘s sponsor, accepted my suggestion as project manager for MES, to split the deployment between 3 sanctuaries, thereby increasing the potential for a natural spat set. This decision resulted in one of the alternate sites in upper Tangier Sound receiving a natural spat set. This video shows the first deployment trip off Point Lookout. The thriving oyster reef that subsequently developed at the alternate site is documented by a Chesapeake Bay Foundation video made a decade later that is on the CBF website. It was this reef, a field trial at the Horn Point oyster hatchery for hatchery spat sets directly onto Reef Balls, Reef Ball pour training and demonstration project sponsored by MES and the Oyster Recovery Partnership on Tilghman Island for the Tilghman Island Fish Haven, collaboration by MES and CBF for early Reef Ball pours for Maryland Bay waters, and success of Reef Balls with hatchery spat set at CBF’s Shady Side oyster hatchery with deployment at Hollicutts Noose Fish Haven, that were the foundation for the current use of Reef Balls for oyster restoration and fishing reefs in Bay and tributary waters. Recent Reef Ball reefs include 240 Reef Balls at Winchester Lump in the Severn River and Reef Balls that were poured at National Harbor and placed in Smoot Bay on the tidal Potomac.
From Wade’s post on Facebook.
a video at Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reefs on Facebook about the first deployment of Reef Balls in Maryland Bay waters. This Reef Ball project laid the foundation for today’s projects in Bay and tributary waters, including the Reef Balls that were poured at National Harbor and placed in Smoot Bay. I had the good fortune to direct the first placement in the video and participate as a volunteer for the National Harbor pour.
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.
BEST PRACTICES USING REEF BALLS FOR LIVING SHORELINES
James W. McFarlane, Larry Beggs,
This research involved traveled the coast from Connecticut down the Atalantic Coast, the five states of the Gulf of Mexico, California and islands surveying existing sites, and compiling data. The photos and analysis of projects will provide insight into best practices for successful living shoreline projects. Factors such as water depth, anticipated wave energy, and the type of organisms will dictate the materials used. The Reef Balls have shown better oyster recruitment than other materials. Placing Reef Balls in multiple rows or using taller Reef Balls will increase the wave attenuation. Placement of Reef Balls can provide a large surface area, and the structure of the Reef Ball creates small eddy currents ideal for spat settlement, and for filter feeders. Aesthetics are important particularly when it is in a homeowner’s backyard. When following best practices, you will provide wave attenuation, resulting in increased growth of marsh grasses, as well as submerged aquatic vegetation. Placed properly Reef Ball, provide a great asset to a living shoreline and best of all they stay were there put. Several of the sites were comparative material, test sites. The surveys were looking for the most positive results at the various test sites.
PRESENTER BIO: Larry Beggs, is the Vice President of the Reef Ball foundation. He has been involved with the Reef Ball Foundation since the early 1990’s . As President of Reef Innovations, the international contractor he trained organizations from around the world in the process of constructing and deployment of artificial reefs.