Project Location: Louisiana, USA
BioHaven® floating island technology is an improved approach for protecting shorelines from erosion and restoring natural vegetation. This technology is variously known as BioHaven Living Shorelines and BioHaven Floating Breakwaters. The BioHaven matrix is a robust and flexible support structure for plants that has exceptional wave-dampening qualities: instead of simply redirecting possibly-destructive energy, waves are safely absorbed. The matrix has a very high tensile strength capable of withstanding 90-mph winds; it is designed to rise and fall with the tide, and will rebound if inundated during a storm event.
BioHavens have been installed in coastal areas, ponds and lakes. Living shorelines are intended to:
Installing BioHaven living shorelines requires relatively little heavy equipment and less labor than conventional alternatives such as bulkheads and riprap. The lightweight, modular system can be assembled and installed with minimal disruption to the environment it is designed to protect.
Martin Ecosystems of Baton Rouge, a licensee of Floating Island International using the BioHaven technology, has developed expertise in designing, installing and maintaining living shorelines. Since 2009, Martin Ecosystems has installed living shorelines at the three locations in Louisiana described in detail below.
Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
At the nation’s largest urban national wildlife refuge, preserving marsh habitat is critical. Over time, low-to-moderate wave energies have eroded much of the shoreline. The cost-effective solution chosen in August 2009 was to install 856 linear feet of BioHavens to buffer waves, increase sedimentation and grow new vegetation. Partners were the City of New Orleans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bayou Land Resource Conservation & Development Council (a division of NRCS).
At Catfish Lake, part of the South Lafourche Levee District near Galiano, LA, the levee base was eroding from daily wave action. In March 2009, 1000 linear feet of BioHavens were installed to buffer the waves, protect the levee base and provide needed vegetation. Selected plants were marsh hay, seashore paspalum and vermillion smooth cord. Both the BioHaven matrix and the vegetation serve as buffers between the waves and levee.
In only one year, the vegetation has spread and is providing 2-3 feet of vegetative buffer between the waves and levee base. Sections of the project where matrix was installed without plants have shown signs of erosion, indicating that plants are necessary for this application.
Isle de Jean Charles
Significant marsh erosion has been noted on this island on a saltwater lake near Pointe Au Chene, Louisiana. To protect the small slivers of remaining marsh from erosion, provide a buffer between the open lake and a road, provide a suitable environment to trap sediment and allow vegetation to spread, 1560 linear feet of BioHavens were installed in September 2011 and planted with smooth cord and seashore paspalum. Results to date show:
Three floating treatment wetland systems have been successfully deployed at brackish water and saltwater environments in Louisiana. Living shorelines have also been installed in ponds and lakes in Shanghai, China and Singapore. Results include erosion protection, wave mitigation and enhanced vegetation. This cost-effective option was installed with no heavy equipment and little-to-no damage to habitat or the shorelines’ natural appearance.