Building Living Shorelines with Oyster Shells

by Steve Williams, P.E., on November 13, 2019

Living Shore Line GeoReefLiving shorelines are a relatively new method to combating coastal erosion. This method uses natural materials that grow over time, ultimately slowing down erosion while enhancing wildlife habitats. Tensar has begun looking for an answer to building living shorelines with an engineered structure filled with oyster shells.  Along with improving breakwater effectiveness, the hope is that these oyster filled structures will promote faster oyster reef growth, provide cleaner water, be aesthetically pleasing, and last longer through large storms. 

Steve Williams, Coastal & Marine Industry Manager for Tensar, explains how GeoReefs work, "anytime you're trying to mimic Mother Nature you'll get a benefit out of that. Studies show that living shorelines are more effective than bulkheads in a lot of instances. Bulkheads reflect wave energy and when you're reflecting wave energy you aren't doing anything to slow down that water. Here we're slowing down the water, we're absorbing energy."

North Carolina Coastal Federation and UNC Institute of Marine Sciences recently joined with representatives from Tensar International to test a GeoReef installation at a private residence in Swansboro, North Carolina.  Local news channel WCTI 12 was on site to capture the installation >> watch the video here.

Tensar hopes to prove there can be a cost-effective technique for coastal management without adding debris to our precious waterways.

DSC_1758    DSC_1893