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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 436;

Mitigating Erosional Effects Induced by Boat Wakes with Living Shorelines

Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Estuarine environments worldwide are among the most threatened habitats due to increased disturbances resulting from coastal infrastructure and rising population densities. Boating activity is a primary disturbance, as it induces biological stress and morphological changes along the coastline. This high-energy environment that boat wakes create has resulted in loss of surrounding oyster reefs and salt marsh vegetation, ultimately leading to shoreline and habitat erosion. Here, we characterize the boat wake climate in the Intracoastal Waterway, assess the bathymetry in this heavily trafficked area, and anticipate the effects of experimental living shorelines (natural breakwall and oyster restoration structures) on facilitating sediment deposition and slowing vegetation retreat. Field observations indicate that boat wakes suspend nearshore sediment and can reach heights greater than 40 cm. A numerical stability model of the breakwalls suggests that the optimal porosity is field-specific. The desired porosity for minimizing lateral displacement is 0.50, while it is 0.18 for maximum energy dissipation, which indicates a need to further investigate this complex problem. These findings demonstrate that boat wakes significantly and regularly disturb estuarine shorelines and may be altering their bathymetry as well as suggest that the design of the breakwalls may be optimized to best counteract this pervasive disturbance. View Full-Text
Keywords: oyster restoration; porous breakwalls; intracoastal waterway oyster restoration; porous breakwalls; intracoastal waterway

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Herbert, D.; Astrom, E.; Bersoza, A.C.; Batzer, A.; McGovern, P.; Angelini, C.; Wasman, S.; Dix, N.; Sheremet, A. Mitigating Erosional Effects Induced by Boat Wakes with Living Shorelines. Sustainability 2018, 10, 436.

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