simultaneous Enhancement of Habitat and working waterfronts

Last summer, we introduced you to a new living shoreline project at Joe Rains Beach in Cedar Key (read more). This unique, two-phase project will enhance both natural and cultural (working waterfront) resources along Daughtry Bayou. Phase 1 is the re-alignment of Tyree Canal. This is accomplished by dredging sand from the historic canal entrance. Re-aligning the canal will increase flow, improve water quality and restore access for vessels. All of these results will benefit local residents, including active clam operations, along the canal. Phase 2 of the project uses the sand dredged out of the canal opening to construct a living shoreline along a severely eroded area in front of Joe Rains Beach. Living shorelines control erosion by using marsh plants, oysters, and other natural elements to trap sediment and reduce wave energy.

Since August, the leaders of the project (Dr. Mark Clark, Mr. Bill Delaino, and Mr. David Beach, P.E.) have been busy implementing many different elements of the project. Despite a few setbacks (not least of which was Hurricane Hermine), both phases of the project are moving ahead at a steady pace.

Check out the progress at the site, captured during a recent drone flyover of the projectJoe Rains Living Shoreline

Above: Aerial view of Joe Rains project area. The yellow floating structure is called a “turbidity curtain” and is used to prevent nearby waters from becoming too cloudy. Sand is pumped from the canal opening (near the top of the photo) down to the Joe Rains living shoreline area (area near front of photo). This sand serves as a platform for planting marsh plants and will be retained in place using bags of shell and large sand bags while plants and oysters establish in the area.

Tyree Canal Realignment

Above: Aerial view of the Tyree Canal Realignment project area. The area being opened up above was the historic canal entrance in the 1950s and 1960s. Over time, sand filled in the area and altered the path of the canal. The large tan tube on the right of the canal opening, called a “Titan Tube”, will help prevent sand from filling in the canal opening in the future. In addition, the living shoreline area upstream from the canal will also help prevent infill of the canal by trapping sediment.

Dredge for Tyree Canal Re-alignment

Above: The dredge machine used to re-align the Tyree Canal entrance. This dredge was custom-made for this project. The spiral mechanism on the front churns up sand that is pumped along the shoreline to the living shoreline project via the black tube on the back of the machine.

living shoreline construction

Above: Large sandbags at the Joe Rains living shoreline site. These sandbags are needed to keep the sand platform for the upper marsh in place while plants establish. The wooden structure (called a breakwater) will be removed after plants establish. Sand will also be added to the area to the right of the sandbags. The more offshore area will be planted with lower marsh plants, and these will be stabilized with bags of shell that will eventually be colonized by living oysters. The living shoreline will protect the seawall on the left of the photo and create a great habitat for small fish, crabs, and shrimp.

The video below was captured during a recent drone flyover – very cool!

WHat’s Next?

Once the sand platform has been laid down at the site, volunteers will be needed to help plant marsh plants, deploy bags of shell, and help monitor project success. There will be great opportunities to get involved in this great local project for months and years to come! Be sure to follow NCBS on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about how you can get involved!

Photos and video courtesy of Dr. Mark Clark