Hibiscus Shoreline Riprap and Marsh Grass Plants Update
As part of an effort to reduce the erosion on the Hibiscus By The Bay shoreline the Board decided it was best to line the eroded portion of the shoreline with shoreline riprap. The Board did get approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The effort was 100% volunteer with some hardy Hibiscus residents donating their time, knowledge and sweat to get the job done.
The plants that were planted last year as part of the Hibiscus Living Shoreline Project and the re-purposed, donated marsh grass plants that I was able to get from the Naval Support Activity (NSA) that were planted late in the winter are looking better. The plants from NSA were at no cost to Hibiscus and St. Andrew Bay Watch volunteers helped to plant them. There is evidence of lateral spreading via rhizomes and many of the stems have multiple shoots at their bases. The plants in front of Tower 2 seem to be doing better than the plants in front of Tower 1.Saltmeadow Cordgrass Spartina patens. Also know as Saltmeadow Hay, this grass volunteering in shoreward of the planted Smooth Cordgrass Spartina alterniflora is a natural progression and a very good thing. Hopefully the Florida Saltbush Baccharis halimifolia will volunteer in as well. We lost quite a few of the Saltbushes to erosion. There should be Saltbush seed along the area of the shoreline and hopefully some new bushes will begin to grow. It would be nice if they would grow in the riprap as well.
In the areas disturbed the by the skid steer that was used to transport the rock riprap to the shoreline, I recommended the community plant native plants, ground cover and shrubs in those areas with the goal of providing an additional wave break, shoreward of the riprap. I provided a native plant list appropriate for the disturbed location and contact information for nurseries that have the plants.
I also think the shoreline would benefit from the installation of wave barriers in the form of bagged shell oyster reefs. Aside from the obvious benefit of wave attenuation that the oyster reefs would provide, they also allow for sediments to settle out and build up shoreward of them. The build up of sediments effectively results in shoreline accretion, increased elevation and additional habitat for marsh grasses. The accretion effectively extends the Hibiscus shoreline waterward. The waterward extension of the shoreline provides additional buffer area between the wave action and the upland structures.
Have a very HAPPY day!
Capt. Mike and Vivian Foate – Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty