Staff from the Wrightsville Beach office finished the last of three reef monitoring events on Nov. 8.
Volunteers came out twice in October and once in November to evaluate the progress of living shorelines built at Morris Landing Clean Water Preserve in Holly Ridge and at Waterway Park in Oak Island. The living shorelines included shoreline reefs comprised of oyster shell bags, loose oyster shell and oyster domes. The reefs were backed by areas of salt marsh restoration.
More than 40 volunteers helped staff assess the spread and growth of the salt marsh vegetation, as well as measure the oyster reef and count the number of oysters and other organisms living there.
At the Waterway Park shoreline assessment, Jessica Gray spoke with reporter Hannah Levya from Port City Daily. She talked about how oyster reefs and living shorelines help with water quality and explained how the project fared during Hurricane Matthew, which had hit the week before.
The federation has been working at Morris Landing Clean Water Preserve since 2005 and has partnered with many groups to create hundreds of feet of living shoreline there. Work at the Waterway Park in Oak Island began in 2013 funded by a grant through the Estuary Restoration Act and was part of the implementation of the Lockwood Folly Watershed Restoration Plan.
“We were really pleased with the development of the oyster reefs and health of the salt marsh at both sites,” said Ted Wilgis, coastal education coordinator. “The reefs had lots of oysters and reef-dwelling organisms on them.”