Cat Point

Image Credit: Joel Vandekrol

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Florida Living Shoreline Project Wins Prestigious Award


The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association has named the Florida Trustee Implementation Group-funded Cat Point Living Shoreline project one of five recipients for this year’s Best Restored Shores Award. ASBPA is a large, 100-year old organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and enhancing coasts by merging science and public policy.

The Cat Point Living Shoreline project, located in the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, was approved during the early restoration phase of the trustees’ massive and ongoing effort to repair the injury to natural resources and their services in the Florida restoration area caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This project, one of the more than 70 projects thus far approved by the Florida Restoration Area Trustees, is based on the concept of using nature-based solutions to protect a disappearing shoreline and transform it into a thriving and functional salt marsh habitat.

Sixteen breakwater structures make up the 1,300-foot “backbone” of the project located off the shores of Eastpoint, Florida, in Apalachicola Bay. The breakwaters now protect the shoreline against wave action, flooding, and storm surge and provide a protected area for oyster restoration. Behind the breakwaters, 20,634 native marsh grasses were planted to enhance and create salt marsh, which acts as a natural filter to help improve coastal water quality. The marsh also provides habitat for juvenile fish; invertebrates, including crabs, shrimp, and oysters; small mammals and reptiles; and wading birds, including herons and egrets.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, as the implementing trustee, worked with an extensive group of public and private partners on this restoration project, including the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Duke Energy, and the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten and Emerald Coasts, who assisted with planting and educational outreach.

Monitoring of projects is an important part of restoration. The trustees, specifically Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Central Panhandle Aquatic Preserves staff, have monitored the project since construction and planting were completed and will continue monitoring until 2025.

The ASBPA established the Best Restored Shores Award to acknowledge and encourage more effective coastal risk management, including restoring natural infrastructure and addressing erosion, flooding, and related hazards. The 2023 Best Restored Shores were recognized at the association’s National Coastal Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, in October.

Read more from Florida Department of Environmental Protection.