In this case, there was no erosion problem, just the desire by the Client to help clean his creek and return oyster habitat. The project ended up being in two phases. Part 1 was to build an up-weller in the Clients yard and settle oyster larvae on the reefs prior to placement. After 8 weeks growth in this relatively sheltered environment, the oysters were large enough to withstand most predators.
Reefs were placed in water 2’ deep at Mean Low Water and about 30’ offshore. The property on Stutts Creek in Mathews this far up the creek had erosion issues, with one part of the property already having a riprap revetment. The reefs were placed in the typical interlocked pattern, more out of habit than for any other reason.
Phase 2 the following year was to add more reefs to either end of the original 30’ pre-seeded reef section. These reefs have been populated by native spawning oysters in the creek.
One suprising result was that even in this relatively still water, the offshore reefs did strap sediment behind them as evidenced by the hieight of the mud behind the inner row. In addition, visible in the following photo sequence, the entire 30’ wide area between the reefs and shoreline marsh has been elevating. The pictures were taken during an exceptionally low tide event. It is clear that with more modest sediment gains or a booster with some sand backfill, the entire area could be repopulated in healthy marsh grass. Some marsh grass has grown out about a foot further from its old line along the shore already.
This is a muddy creek and a bit monotone at the time the picture was taken in late winter, but do not get the idea that reefs are always so. Here are reefs photographed later in summer with lots of colors associated with them in a more wave washed enviornment: