PROJECT 8: CREATING RESILENCY BY PROTECTING BEACHES WITH OYSTER REEFS AND CULTIVATED OYSTER STRUCTURES.
Delaware Bay beaches naturally erode and rebuild over time. The process of erosion has accelerated in recent years, very likely an impact of increase storm frequency. We propose to increase the resiliency of restored beaches in a variety of ways including regular replacement of sand from dredging operations, and sand harvesting from near shore sand deposits. Another way is to prevent sand loss but protection beaches from wind driven waves. In spring 2013 we experimented with movable structures used to cultivate oyster to determine their influence on crabs, birds and waves. Although we had only modest success reducing waves, the lack of impact on crabs and birds allows a more robust effort this year. We propose two projects.
PROJECT 8A: USE OF OYSTER SHELL TO CREATE STABLE REEFS
We propose to establish near-shore shell bars at three of our beach restoration sites: south Reeds Beach, Thompson’s Beach, and Fortescue. We will construct approximately 500 feet of oyster reef offshore at each beach. We will test whether the reef bars produce measurable levels of wave attenuation that both (a) help reduce beach erosion and (b) create calmer water for spawning horseshoe crabs. Each site will be maintained by oystermen who will establish oyster aquaculture racks shoreward of the reef bars to take advantage of the protected water of the reef.