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Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007


Matthew Kerkhof Key Restoration Inc. Naples, FL

Vegetated shorelines promote healthy fisheries compared to hard armor. Bioengineered shorelines are a form of soft revetment used to stabilize these sensitive areas. Soft revetment practices are designed to reintroducing native plant species along banks or shorelines using natural “soft” products to aid in the establishment of vegetation. These soft products usually include erosion control blankets (ECB’s), live staking or natural stakes, coir or straw logs, and natural twine. Native seeding or plugs are used to reclaim the area. The native plants will completely take over the area becoming a single system entwining with the products and soil. These soft products will breakdown in years or even months leaving the native plants behind holding the soil. “Commonly available bio-engineered materials offer inherent resistance to shear stress on the order of 3 to 5 pounds per square foot”, according to US EPA.

Hard armor systems are typically rip-rap “rif-raf”, vinyl/metal seawalls, and concrete structures. These practices use “Hard” products to create the buffer between the water and shorelines. Riprap systems are designed to bury the existing soil and act as a buffer between the waves and the shore. Vinyl seawalls and concrete structures are often 3 feet or greater in depth taking the shoreline completely out of the equation. These systems create barren unproductive zones in the fisheries life chain.

Vegetated shorelines promote healthier fisheries by creating a buffer zone between the land and the water. The vegetation scrubs the water as it enters into the water body removing soil particles, absorbing fertilizer, and acts as a scrubber for pesticides and other man-made runoff.

Habitat created allows for an increase in macro invertebrates. The abundant food source in the surrounding plants fuels the web of life resulting in increased fishery productivity. The macro invertebrates feed the small fry, which now have a place to seek refuge along the roots and vegetation. These soft revetment systems create a food source and provide shelter for young fish. “Coir fiber logs or other soft revetment structures provide the crucial habitat needed for many macro invertebrate life cycles”, according to Eric Spangler President Terra Vision LLC.

The Bio-Engineering Group was tasked by the Army Corps of Engineers to work on the

Shelby Bottoms Greenway project located in Nashville TN. developed a bioengineering design that was compatible with the

“Bioengineering Group staff existing hydrologic conditions,

effectively stabilizes the and ultimately resulted

eroding shoreline, utilize in a cost effective and

native plant materials, was extremely durable,






produced providing

a stable valuable

aesthetically habitat for the

pleasing shoreline that enhances the varied wildlife population that inhabits

park experience or uses the park.”


A vegetated shoreline results in a healthier more productive fishery. The natural products used to create a vegetated shoreline and different nesting/living habitat structures all result in helping complete the web of life.

Session 6A – Page 8

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