a wave on a beach


Erosion is a natural process in coastal ecosystems but becomes an issue when it threatens homes and infrastructure. 


Coastal erosion is caused by:

» Storms and waves

» Hardened infrastructure (seawalls)

» Sea level rise

» Boat or foot traffic

» Loss or lack of vegetative root systems

» Changes in coastal landscape that affect currents

Addressing Shoreline Erosion

Property owners have many options to address coastal erosion, each with benefits and drawbacks.

More traditional approaches include beach nourishment & shoreline armoring.
  • Beach nourishment: importing sand to the area to restore the beach
    • Benefits: enhances the area of beach, highly desirable for recreational purposes
    • Drawbacks: short-term solution (erosion will continue), expensive, must find suitable sand, sand must be sourced from somewhere and this may cause impacts to the donor site, can be challenging to implement

      range of erosion control options
      Source: NOAA Habitat Blueprint - Shoreline Solution Continuum, https://www.habitatblueprint.noaa.gov/living-shorelines/
  • Shoreline armoring: adding large rocks or seawalls to deflect wave energy
    • Benefits: relatively simple to implement, may be the only suitable solution for high energy settings
    • Drawbacks: expensive, increases erosion of adjacent and seaward areas,  creates barrier between land and water, loss of environmental function of shoreline, high likelihood of failure and costly repairs (low resilience), cannot adjust with changing sea level
A newer but increasingly popular method of erosion control is a living shoreline.
  • Living shorelines: enhancing natural habitat along the shoreline to dampen wave energy and accumulate sediment
    • Benefits: cost-effective, likely to adapt with changing sea levels, benefits environmental function (e.g., habitat, water quality), ability to gain (accrete) land by trapping sediments, less likely to fail and require repairs (high resilience), likely to be long-lasting
    • Drawbacks: not suitable for all sites, can be challenging to implement (because living shorelines are a relatively new approach, they lack streamlined permitting mechanisms and technical expertise is not widespread - but this situation is improving)

benefits of living shorelines
Source: NOAA Habitat Blueprint - Living Shorelines, https://www.habitatblueprint.noaa.gov/living-shorelines/

From the blog:

Effects of Hydrological Alterations on Coastal Food Webs

By Emily Colson | October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

  Funding Source: NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Synopsis: Estuaries are areas where the rivers meet the sea. Changes to quantity and quality of freshwater in coastal areas, therefore, can have a drastic impact on the ecology of our estuaries. A major focus of UF/IFAS NCBS research is to determine the impact of changes to […]

Submerged Vegetation Restoration – St. Johns River

By Emily Colson | October 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

    Funding Source: St. Johns River Water Management District Synopsis: Working with Laura Reynolds (UF Soil and Water Science) and Carrie Adams (UF Environmental Horticulture), we are developing new approaches to submerged vegetation restoration, testing these approaches, and using biodiversity hypotheses to restore vegetation and their ecological functions (such as fish habitat use) in […]

Grasses in Classes Kicks off in Hernando County

By Savanna Barry | August 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Grasses in Classes This school year at the Gulf Coast Middle School, students in Shawn Walker’s science class will have a very important responsibility. They will be raising marsh grasses in a brand new nursery built at the school by Hernando Master Gardeners, UF IFAS Extension, and GCMS teachers as part of the Grasses in […]

Video Blog: Living Shoreline Marsh Plantings

By Savanna Barry | March 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Check out the latest at the Joe Rains Beach Living Shoreline site – we will have plenty of other opportunities for other groups to get involved. Please get in touch if you want to be part of the project.

Cedar Key Living Shoreline Update

By Savanna Barry | February 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

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 […]

Increasing public access to scientists and science in the Nature Coast

By Savanna Barry | February 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

an Opportunity to connect We at the UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station just finished up a big week hosting the Big Bend Science Symposium in Cedar Key. This three-day conference was attended by the usual contingent of graduate students, university professors, and state wildlife managers convening to share updates about their research. However, academic […]

Coastal Erosion Along G Street Prompts Community Discussion

By Savanna Barry | October 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

Background The coastal area next to G Street in Cedar Key has changed a lot since the 1970s. A 2008 study funded by the FL Department of Environmental Protection found that the construction of G and 1st streets in the late 1960s and 1970s accelerated erosion and resulted in the loss of the beach from […]

What’s Happening at Joe Raines Beach?

By Savanna Barry | August 12, 2016 | 1 Comment

By Dr. Mark Clark and Dr. Savanna Barry If you’ve been to Cedar Key lately, you may have noticed heavy machinery and lots of activity going on at Joe Raines Beach and adjacent properties (pictured above). This activity is all due to the Cedar Key Living Shoreline and Tyree Canal Enhancement Project, led by Dr. […]