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Protecting wetlands with a "living shoreline"

Bioengineered oyster reefs are protecting the coastline and nurturing fish and shellfish on the Louisiana coast.

Opportunity

“Weak” soils with low bearing capacity add to the challenge of wetland restoration along the Louisiana coast.

Living shorelines, which increase biodiversity along coastal fringe marshes and shorelines, are on the leading edge of technological development in coastal engineering.

Solution

Mott MacDonald has been on the forefront of designing living shoreline solutions to prevent shoreline erosion, stimulate nearshore habitat development, and promote oyster growth. In Cameron Parish, we used a bioengineered solution to create semiartificial oyster reefs.

Our engineers used numerical modeling tools, such as 2D-V and 3D computational fluid dynamics modeling tools, to analyze the ability of various technologies to reduce wave energy and to determine the hydraulic loading on the structures.

Outcome

Bioengineered oyster reefs on the Louisiana coast now filter and improve the quality of seawater, provide nursery habitat for fish and shellfish, provide food for predatory fish such as flounder, drum, and speckled trout, and mitigate nutrient loading, eutrophication, and hypoxia.

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