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Erick (Rick) Harter , Josh Adams , Nigel Temple , Evan Blythe
Background: Highway 98 along Apalachicola Bay suffers from erosion that damages the roadway, requiring costly repairs. Objectives: To enhance ecological productivity and reduce erosion, nearshore reefs and emergent saltmarsh will be created. These reefs will become colonized with various marine species, including oysters, which will help serve as a source of larval oysters for other parts of the bay. Reefs will be low and broad (like natural reefs) rather than high and narrow (like many living shoreline breakwaters). Methods: The footprint of the reefs and marsh are determined by water depths and avoidance of seagrasses. To assess project performance, monitoring will occur for a total of five years (i.e., five annual events over about 4 ½ years) to provide a before/after comparison. Upon completion of the post-construction monitoring, scientists will conduct a full analysis and interpretation of the data using a before/after and control/impact (BACI) approach. Monitoring will evaluate the following metrics: • Reefs – acreage, live/dead oyster density, and size frequency distribution • Intertidal marsh – acreage and percent cover by species • Erosion Control – change in shoreline position and elevation Results: The preliminary design involves a complex mosaic of estuarine habitats that are configured in natural shapes. The first round of preconstruction monitoring mostly indicates the absence of oysters and marsh, but small reference patches of both habitat types suggest good project performance in terms of oyster recruitment and marsh development. Conclusions: Living shoreline designs that are driven by site characteristics, rather than traditional linear breakwaters provide a more-natural mosaic of habitats.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program