Projects: Living Shoreline/Oyster Restoration

Living shoreline projects provide substrate for oyster colonization, while also creating nursery and foraging habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish. Furthermore, oyster reefs can improve water quality and protect marsh, seagrass, and shoreline habitats from further degradation, including shoreline erosion and damage from coastal storms.

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Pensacola East Bay Living Shorelines & Oyster Reef Restoration

  • State: Florida
  • Type: Living Shoreline/Oyster Restoration
  • Estuary: Pensacola Bay
  • Land Benefit: 6.5 shoreline miles

This project will create up to 6.5 miles of living shorelines in the East Bay area of Pensacola Bay. The project will include installation of materials to provide structure suitable for development of oyster reef habitat and will serve as a natural approach to controlling shoreline erosion. The project will apply the most appropriate substrate for oyster larvae to settle and colonize, restoring critical oyster habitat. The deployment of oyster habitat (which serves as a breakwater) and the planting of salt marsh vegetation will protect the shoreline by dampening wave energy (which erodes the shoreline) and stabilizing sediments (which cause turbidity). These improvements will promote the growth of seagrass and increase colonization by oysters.

Fish and Waterfowl Benefits

Living shorelines created by this project will ultimately provide nursery habitat for commercially and recreationally important finfish and shellfish, as well as forage and nesting areas for birds.

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100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama

  • State: Alabama
  • Type: Living Shoreline/Oyster Restoration
  • Estuary: Mobile Bay
  • Land Benefit: 900 acres

This project is a partnership between federal and state agencies, academia, municipalities, non-profits, businesses and citizens. It involves building 100 miles of intertidal oyster reefs, which will in turn protect and promote the growth of more than 1,000 acres of coastal marsh and seagrass. The project will improve water quality and create new habitat for many species of fish and wildlife. Because oysters filter water, the new reefs will increase light penetration for seagrasses. By absorbing wave energy, the reefs also will reduce shoreline erosion and support adjacent marsh habitat.

Fish and Waterfowl Benefits

These living shoreline projects will provide substrate for oyster larvae to settle and colonize and in the process create nursery and foraging habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish, as well as birds. Furthermore, the living shoreline protects the adjacent shoreline from erosion, helping to increase land area and property values, and provide opportunities for fishing, bird watching and sightseeing from land, kayak or boat.

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