Chris Davis of Ready Reef
+ Project Snapshot
This living shoreline application incorporates the use of oyster sills and the Envirolok system to create a resilient, habitat-friendly solution in the salty backwaters of the Virginia coast.
Oysters are more than just savory seafood. As oysters grow and thrive in the shallow waters along shorelines, they create a natural and resilient shoreline that helps diffuse destructive waves that erode the shoreline. With many of these natural oyster colonies now gone and development and water recreation increasing, the brackish shorelines throughout the Chesapeake Bay are eroding at a fast pace.
As shoreline soils erode, plant roots are exposed, leading to deterioration of shoreline plantings. The fine particles of shoreline silts and sands are easily broken up by the waters energy and settle deep in the Bay. The prolific clay particles are larger and heavier and settle in the shallow waters making it difficult for aquatic plants and crustations to thrive, causing further deterioration of water quality and the shore.
Past efforts to stabilize public and private shorelines focused on stone and man-made sea walls. While these solutions look good on paper, they create dead zones along the water and shore and are less resilient than living shoreline solutions.
Many of the states along the east coast are now focusing on the use of living and bio-engineered solutions. Not only have these methods proved more resilient to rising waters and storms, they increase water quality, useability and property values.
Chris Davis, owner of Ready Reef, Inc of Virginia has taken his passion for living shorelines to a whole new level. His design approach blends a mixture of natural and bioengineered products to create natural shoreline solutions that stand the test of time. By designing with biomimicry, Chris is able to tame the shoreline edge using ecological and structural cues from oyster fields, salt marshes and tidal flats. While vegetation is an important key to the success, oftentimes the native vegetation needs a helping hand. That’s where Ready Reef incorporates bio-engineered stabilization solutions like their custom Oyster WADS, Flexamat and the Envirolok system.
This project in Mourges Cove is just on of many examples of successful integration of bioengineered products to create a live shoreline that is habitat friendly and resilient.