Phase 1: Oyster Reef Installation
The first phase of construction at G Street involves the placement of two types of oyster reefs.
The first type is called a "sill" and functions as a hard edge to break wave energy and protect the softer shoreline behind. The sill will be constructed out of a new material called reef prisms. Reef prisms are constructed out of natural woven fibers that are coated with a cement mixture favored by oysters. These prisms are then filled with shell and capped off before being stacked along the shoreline to form the sill.
The second oyster reef type is called a "point bar" and functions to trap and hold sand from being exported by long-shore drift. The point bars on G Street will be made out of oyster castle blocks (sourced from Allied Concrete in Charlottesville, VA). These interlocking blocks are embedded with crushed oyster shell and should rapidly become coated with oysters.
Phase 2: Raise Elevations with Sand
The Airport Rd. shoreline has lost a good deal of sand to erosion over the years, leaving the road and properties more exposed than before. Once the reefs are constructed, wave energy (erosive force) will be greatly reduced along the shoreline. This will allow our team to bring in clean fill sand to restore the shoreline to historical elevations.
The sand will be trucked in from an approved mine near Grandin, FL. During delivery of the sand, there will be some minor disruptions to the normal traffic pattern in the area so the trucks can access the shoreline when delivering sand.
As the sand is delivered, it will be graded with the assistance of heavy machinery and most of the sand will be stabilized with vegetation plantings in Phase 3. However, some areas will remain sandy beach.
Phase 3: Vegetation Plantings
The final construction activity will be to install marsh and dune vegetation in several zones along the shoreline. This will help stabilize and hold sands in place. The plants also provide extra protection for the shoreline through the wave dampening effects.
Initially, plants will be installed with the help of volunteers with a spacing of approximately 18-24 inches in between. The plant species to be installed include smooth cordgrass, saltmeadow cordgrass, and sea oats. Within a few years, the original planting zones should be completely filled in.
Over time, the vegetative communities may even begin to trap more sand and cause the land area to increase in elevation.
Ongoing Activities: Monitoring and Education
Monitoring: Our team has been conducting pre-construction monitoring since summer 2019. These sampling efforts will continue post-construction until at least 2021. Variables monitored include fish abundance and diversity, elevation, plant density and survival, and oyster recruitment and density.
Education: Interesting in visiting the shoreline for an educational tour? Get in touch with us to set up an experience for your group. You can also visit the shoreline on your own, or participate in one of our virtual tour options coming soon!