Living Shorelines: Engaging Communitioes While Stabilizing Historic Sites
   Linda Walters, University of Central Florida

Abstract: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is charged with the responsible management of the state’s fish and wildlife species, but requires sufficient biological information to make those management decisions. Anthropogenic changes to estuaries have resulted in habitat destruction and alteration at the land-sea interface, decreasing structure and function of shorelines when native biogenic habitats are replaced with hard-armored structures. Hard-armored shorelines decrease connectivity and break biological and physical links between land-water boundaries by creating artificial transitions from marine to terrestrial habitats. Natural shorelines, alternatively, provide numerous ecosystem services, including stabilization and protection from erosion, water filtration, primary production and nutrient cycling, and critical habitat for economically important fishes and invertebrates. Florida’s estuaries support large coastal communities and development has increased over the past century, threatening natural habitats. Shoreline hardening was identified as a major threat to marine and estuarine habitats in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) (2012). Resource managers throughout the state are interested in alternatives to hardarmoring that will provide both protection from erosion and quality habitat for diverse assemblages of estuarine species now and into the future where historically high shoreline habitat complexity has been lost. One alternative is living shoreline restoration/stabilization to mimic local, natural shoreline communities. The purpose of our project is to apply our scientifically-tested methods to create a multispecies hybrid living shoreline over a total of 253 meters of shoreline of two historically significant coastal shell middens, Seminole Rest in Canaveral National Seashore (CANA) and Fort Mose State Historic Park. Our project addresses multiple conservation goals and actions to reduce threats caused by hard-armored shorelines in Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (2012), including stabilization of shorelines using native flora and fauna, research investigating effects of hard-armored shorelines on wildlife, and community engagement in 2 restoration to increase public awareness about living shorelines. Our project also addresses national and state park high priority issues as documented in their management plans.

Award Matching Funds Total
$94,778.00 $51,035.00 $145,813.00

Year Funded Starting Date Ending Date
2012 12/22/2013 4/15/2016

Location: Statewide