As part of PDE’s recent efforts to increase the number of living shoreline demonstration and research study sites, in 2013, we partnered with Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to implement a bio-based living shoreline along the Lewes-Rehoboth canal in Lewes, DE. This restoration site was constructed to address an undercut and deteriorating existing salt marsh shoreline. The site is exposed to low energy for the majority of the time with peaks of energy from boats launching from the boat ramp on the opposite shoreline. The site has low enough energy, so standard vegetated living shoreline tactics were selected. The slope of the eroding shoreline required two tiers of coconut fiber logs staked on top of each other to reach the optimal elevation for Spartina alterniflora grass. Oyster shell bags were then arranged in front of the coir logs to further armor the shoreline and absorb wave energy. The next step was to allow sediment to fall out of the naturally turbid water into the cells created by the coconut fiber logs. This Living Shoreline project was installed in spring 2014 and was monitoring annually for physical and biological development. As of 2016, living shoreline gained 83.39m2 of salt marsh habitat, whereas the paired control area lost 22.10m2. Sedimentation resulted in appropriate positioning within the local tidal prism for salt marsh cordgrass persistence. The living shoreline will continue to be monitored. A map of project can be seen here, all work done with the Delaware Living Shoreline Committee.
- Josh Moody