Throughout the years, the Coastal Federation has had an ongoing partnership with the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. In 2001, the federation partnered with the Aquarium to plant marsh grasses and construct a 400 ft. living shoreline made of rock materials. However, areas of the shore that were not protected by the living shoreline continued to erode, resulting in the loss of valuable salt marsh and oyster reef habitat. In 2017, federation staff teamed up with Aquarium staff, scientists from the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Carteret Community College and Sandbar Oyster Company to address this erosion.

Living Shoreline incorporating rock and planted marsh grasses constructed in 2001.

Sandbar Oyster Company used their biodegradable materials to create a new living shoreline right along the edge of the salt marsh. The Sandbar Oyster Company materials named “Oyster Catcher™”, are composed of plant-fiber cloths, such as burlap and jute erosion control cloth, and infused with a mineral-based binder, like Portland cement.

By 2019, a new 185 ft. living shoreline was constructed using the Oyster Catcher™ materials, and was seeded with juvenile oysters. In the spring of 2018 and 2019 student and community volunteers also assisted in planting marsh grasses along the shore.

Sandbar Oyster Company, Aquarium and Coastal Federation staff and volunteers deploy OysterCatcherTM materials to build the living shoreline.

Through the implementation of this project and education and outreach efforts, the shoreline at the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores has received significant attention and has attracted numerous researchers to use the site for living shoreline research. The shoreline continues to be used as a demonstration site to educate others about living shorelines.

Funders: USFWS (1058