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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Galveston Bay Oyster Reef Restoration and Enhancement

  • State: Texas
  • Type: Living Shoreline/Oyster Restoration
  • Estuary: Galveston Bay

In 2008, sediment from Hurricane Ike destroyed up to 60 percent of the oyster reefs in Galveston Bay. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey’s large influx of fresh water caused oyster mortality rates in the bay ranging from 50 to 100 percent. Galveston’s East Bay was particularly badly affected by Hurricane Harvey. This project will result in on-the-ground restoration of up to 400 acres of oyster reef in Galveston Bay. This project would build off of a NRDA study identifying the best locations and sizes for reef restoration as well as a small-scale ‘source and sink’ project funded by NFWF.

Project Status:
Conceptual > Feasibility & Planning > Engineering & Design > Under Construction > Completed

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Mad Island Shoreline Protection and Ecosystem Restoration

  • State: Texas
  • Type: Living Shoreline/Oyster Restoration
  • Estuary: Matagorda Bay

The Mad Island Marsh Preserve has experienced high erosion rates of 5 to 10 feet per year since the construction of the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway. The goal of the project is to install 2.3 miles of a nearshore breakwater to reduce persistent erosion at the Mad Island Marsh Preserve. Slowing shoreline loss is critical in maintaining the salinity gradient in this estuarine system and protecting marsh integrity within the Mad Island Wildlife Management Area, in order to benefit nursery habitat for many species. This project supports part of an larger ongoing effort to protect over 6,000 acres of coastal prairie and marsh habitat at Mad Island Marsh Preserve.

Project Status:
Conceptual
> Feasibility & Planning > Engineering & Design > Under Construction > Completed

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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.

Project Status: 
Conceptual > Feasibility & Planning > Engineering & Design > Under Construction > Completed


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