Sweetwater Nature Preserve Shoreline Protection
The Sweetwater Nature Preserve is a 450-acre conservation property owned by GBF. The preserve includes a diverse array of habitat types with approximately 3,500 feet of bay shoreline. Wave energy has resulted in severe erosion of fringing salt marsh habitat on the preserve's shoreline. Since 2005, GBF and project partners have implemented a number of diverse shoreline protection initiatives, including 910 feet of stacked sacrete bag breakwater in 2005, 1,000 feet of reef dome breakwater in 2008-2009, and 340 feet of ReefBLKSM breakwater in 2009.
The latest application of 340 linear feet of ReefBLKSM is the very first application of this patented system in the Galveston Bay area. The project was funded through grants from the FishAmerica Foundation, NOAA Restoration Center, Restore America's Estuaries, and Cheniere Energy. The ReefBLKSM breakwater was installed contiguous with the previously constructed reef dome and sacrete bag breakwaters. These three systems will allow for side-by-side comparison of different methodologies of shoreline protection along the Sweetwater Nature Preserve. In addition to acting as wavebreaks and combating erosion, the structures themselves will become living reefs that provide a habitat for a large variety of fish and enhance aquatic and avian habitat diversity as well as recreational and commercial fisheries productivity.