Vegetated EcoShield™ is a green infrastructure product that protects earthen shorelines and stabilizes banks while promoting vegetative growth to create a “living shoreline.” It is a cost-effective, sustainable solution for shoreline erosion.
EcoShield™ was designed as a protective medium for vegetation to establish, grow, and spread. We like to think of it as a pre-vegetated “armoring”; this layered vegetated system provides protection for earthen berms, dikes, terraces and levees while promoting growth for additional protection from waves. Scientific research found that one layer of the base matrix layer WITHOUT vegetation is effective at reducing wave run up heights by 40%! With multiple layers and vegetation, an even more significant reduction can be expected.
EcoShield™ serves two purposes: it compliments flood protection by reducing wave energies and extending the life of shorelines, levee systems, berms, and terraces. It also enhances the natural processes of the ecosystem by creating shoreline habitats for waterfowl, wildlife, and aquatic life.
Benefits of EcoShield™
- Reduces Erosive Waves
- Stabilizes Loose Soils
- Promotes Vegetative Growth
- Significant Cost Savings
- Provides Installation Flexibility
- Lightweight & Easy to Install
- Minimal Environmental Impact
Successful EcoShield™ Projects
Buras Boat Harbor: Decades of marsh erosion and subsidence along the levees near Joshua’s Marina in Buras, Louisiana, have compromised the integrity of these levees, which protect the coastal community of Buras against storm surge. This project was designed to protect this important infrastructure. Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) and Plaquemines Parish Government.
Martin Ecosystems was subcontracted to install 660 feet of Vegetated EcoShield ® on the south berm in July 2014. Within a week of project completion, a storm came through the area causing damage to the remaining unprotected 4000 feet of earthen berm. High winds caused waves to erode the berm five feet in some places. Martin Ecosystems was again subcontracted to install EcoShield™ on the remaining 4000 feet of unprotected berm. Construction of this phase was completed on September 11, 2014.
Daniel Duhon, of Manchac Consulting, said:
Due to the nature of the borrow material, I think the EcoShield™ served an important role in stabilizing the unstable material. If nothing was done to stabilize the new berm there was the potential to lose a significant portion of the seaward face of the berm due to wind and wave action.
Delta Farms: The America’s WETLAND Foundation (AWF) brought together public and private partners to create the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) Shoreline Stabilization and Restoration Project in Lafourche Parish, LA. America’s WETLAND Foundation contracted Martin Ecosystems to install 1 mile of EcoShield to protect the levee where the embankment has been eroded.
Since the installation of EcoShield in November of 2015, the landowner has not had to perform annual lifting or rebuilding of the levee as he has had to do previously. The levee remains in tact where EcoShield was installed.
Ethan Miller, Project Landowner and Owner of Delta Farms, said:
I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. Over the years we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to stabilize that berm. But looking at the results today, I am impressed. Two years later, the berm is holding and the ecosystems is flourishing.
Bayou Monnaie: A large portion of the marsh in the area near Bayou Monnaie had eroded away, resulting in areas of turbid, open, saline water that provide little value to migatory birds and other wildlife. Earthen terraces were constructed to lessen the erosion, create marsh habitat, and restore water quality. However, the terraces were also susceptible to erosion. Ducks Unlimited contracted Martin Ecosystems to install EcoShield™ along the sacrificial terraces to protect them from erosion. Vegetated EcoShield™ remained in place even following Tropical Storm Cindy and most importantly protected the shoreline from erosion, while the areas unprotected by Vegetated EcoShield™ eroded significantly.
Vegetated EcoShield™ is pre-grown with native vegetation such as wetland sedges, rushes, and grasses before it even arrives on site. These plants are preferred because they are able to develop superior root structure and the ability to spread. Vegetated EcoShield™ is an important tool for shoreline protection of earthen structures, especially where soils are organic and soft and vegetation has nothing to hold onto. Because the vegetation is grown beforehand, the plants are pre-established and have a chance to grow into the material, take root, and spread.
The earthen structure must be smooth in order for EcoShield™ to lay flat onto the earthen surface. A 1:4 slope or greater is preferred for optimal performance. Vegetated Ecoshield™ can be installed in 2, 3, or 4 layers determined by the slope and amount of protected coverage required.
Vegetated EcoShield™ requires minimal maintenance with quick and easy installation. To secure the earthen berm in place we use rebar anchor staples and semi-flexible wire mesh. Staple pins may need to be adjusted for initial earthen structure settling and compaction.
Endorsement by The Water Institute of the Gulf
In June of 2015, The Water Institute of the Gulf endorsed Vegetated EcoShield™ as being consistent with the goals and objective of the Coastal Master Plan for Bank Stablization and Shoreline Protection.
For more information about Vegetated EcoShield™, contact our office at 225-292-6750.