In response to coastal subsidence and erosion throughout the lower Galveston Bay watershed, a significant amount of shoreline habitat restoration has been implemented in these estuarine environments in an effort to restore and stabilize previously degraded shorelines and associated aquatic habitats. Common approaches include shoreline armoring using materials such as sheet pile bulkheads or other artificial materials, some of which have marginal to negative ecologic function and can complicate stability of adjacent shorelines. Alternative approaches can incorporate more natural landscape strategies and biologic processes that mimic endemic shoreline structure and habitat (e.g., Living Shorelines). Anecdotal evidence suggests that Living Shorelines (LS) are an ecologically beneficial option for erosion control and property protection. However, much of the scientific data regarding ecologic function come from larger scale habitat restoration projects rather than smaller, privately owned sites reflective of the majority of LS sites along the upper Texas coast.
For this ongoing study, data was collected at three LS sites to attempt to quantify potential benefits of small-scale restoration projects within the lower Galveston Bay system.