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Living shoreline replaces old seawall in Safety Harbor

Posted: 4:23 AM, Jun 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-14 10:30:42Z
living seawall Safety Harbor

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. — A group of kids, adults and researchers helped plant and put the finishing touches on a living shoreline.

The more than 200-foot-long living shoreline is located at the Safety Harbor Waterfront Park. It replaced a crumbling seawall.

"[The Living Shoreline] is better for the environment, cleaner for the water, and better for the fish and birds. You don't have to replace it," said Ries, Vice President and SE Biological Services and Restoration Director at Environmental Science Associates.

Ries is part of the team that worked with the City of Safety Harbor. He explains the seawall disrupted a natural process that the living shoreline will help bring back.

RELATED: 'Living seawall' helps bring new marine life to Sarasota Bay

"By putting the rocks back in, we have barnacles and oysters coming back," said Ries. "Then we will have fish and that brings birds. We will have a vibrant living community right here."

Bryan Flynn, a coastal engineer who also worked on the living shoreline project, explains that this type of shoreline will also breakup wave energy.

"This is obviously more natural. It's on a slope, whereas a seawall is just vertical... As sea levels rise and we have storm surge and things like that, this shoreline is going to adapt. It's going to grow and get bigger," said Flynn.

Research also shows living shorelines are more resilient in storms.

After the volunteer build, leaders tell ABC Action News the shoreline is almost done. They just need to add a bit more marsh grass.

The Mayor of Safety Harbor says a large percentage of the money needed to build the living shoreline came from grants. They hope this living shoreline will become an example for other municipalities to follow.

For more information on the purpose and benefits of living shorelines from NOAA, click here.