Living Shoreline Update

In October 2016, HSWRI’s Coconut Point lab in Melbourne Beach was heavily damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Only 50 feet from the edge of the Indian River Lagoon, a huge water surge and 105 mph winds wreaked havoc on this site causing upwards of $200,000 in damages. The damage caused has risked the safety of the mangroves, salt marshes, oyster beds, and nursery grounds for all the wildlife that call this estuary home.

One year after Hurricane Matthew, October of 2017, HSWRI collaborated with the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserve and Marine Discovery Center (MDC) to harvest and transplant sea grasses from MDC in New Smyrna Beach, to HSWRI’s lab in Melbourne Beach. This began HSWRI’s living shoreline project, fortifying one damaged area of the seawall by harvesting and planting salt marsh grasses.

A seawall is a structure designed to reduce the damage from high wave activity like surges from hurricanes. This project will serve as a natural coastal defense by forming a vertical barrier between the land and the sea. A living seawall is a relatively new concept in that it consists of natural elements, i.e. sand, aquatic vegetation, or wetland plants, to absorb the power coming from wave energy. We’ve been allowing our native plants to grow and take root since October of last year. Having these plants on our shoreline help keep soil intact and also act as a barrier for water, insects and flooding during hurricane season which not only protects our property but provides natural habitat for wildlife that share our area. Check out the 8 month growth below!


JUNE 2018

More information about living shorelines:





Susan Phillips posted at 2018-6-20 Category: - Other News