Protecting a town with a living shoreline of saltmarsh and oyster beds
November 20, 2023 6:39 PM   Subscribe

A living shoreline of saltmarsh and oyster beds is working to protect this town naturally. In low-lying Narooma on the New South Wales south coast, an award-winning initiative is creating a self-healing barrier against erosion and rising sea levels.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
In Boston, there's a group experimenting with lining the shores of Boston Harbor with thousands of floating mats of vegetation to achieve the same goal (so far, they've only released a handful of the mats, to see if they will, in fact, thrive). It's called the Emerald Tutu because the researchers love a good local in joke (the Emerald Necklace is Boston's large connected park system, designed by Olmsted). Video of some floating mats, well, floating.
posted by adamg at 6:50 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]

There's an oyster gardening effort in Baltimore that tends baby oysters in cages in the Inner Harbor then transplants the adult oysters to an oyster sanctuary just outside the Harbor. My understanding is there's a long way to go to observable effects on water quality, but there are a whole lot more oysters now than there were 10 years ago.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:29 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]

This is great! Efforts like this and mangrove restoration are what we need to do everywhere to protect from sea level rise.

The US state of Georgia (yes, that Georgia) passed a law in 1968 protecting the salt marsh along all 100 miles of our coastline. It constitutes almost 1/3 of the saltmarsh along the entire US Atlantic coast and is one of the most beautiful places I know.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:53 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]

Louisiana is restoring tens of thousands of wetlands acres a year, and that includes a lot of oyster restoration in St Bernard Parish.

Uncertainty about future salinities, and litigation between the state and oyster producers has thrown implementation of more oyster projects off, sad to say.

We have so much climate denial on Louisiana, as well as decades of abuse of fishers by the state and federal government, that the trust issues have been too much to overcome.

But these are wonderful projects!

I think, in Louisiana at least, that more research into the midden practices of Native people would reveal that people have been doing this for a long while in our part of the world.

posted by eustatic at 8:53 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

They're doing something similar on the shores and islands in NC! It involves concrete made out of oyster shells that serves as a break, protecting the marshes and providing a place for oysters to grow!
posted by Snowishberlin at 9:08 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

I remember reading an article about the effects of the 2004 tsunami. The coastal areas that still had mangroves were protected by those trees. The areas in which mangroves and other vegetation had been stripped to make sandy beaches for tourists were hardest hit.
posted by mareli at 9:52 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

Here s the project in st bernard parish.

Actually this project will likely also help maintain higher saltwater levels for bottlenose dolphins during massive river floods from the Pearl and Mississippi, as well as knock down hurricane surges
posted by eustatic at 1:17 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]

More on mangroves.
posted by mareli at 9:34 PM on November 21

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