Started in October 2018, the Living Shorelines Suitability Model is a program designed to assist stakeholders in identifying locations that have favorable conditions for a Living Shoreline installation project in the Tampa Bay area. Once the portions of the shoreline have been characterized according to the model’s criteria, the model then provides the user with suggested Best Management Practices on how to maintain that shoreline.
The benefits of a Living Shoreline are myriad: they offer a great alternative to armored shorelines by providing natural materials that buffer wave action, absorb storm impacts and filter pollutants, all while providing food and shelter for fish, shellfish, birds and other marine life. Sea level rise due to climate change is expected to have large impacts on coastal Florida and Tampa Bay is especially vulnerable. Erosion and loss of habitat are concerning to the public and private stakeholders, spurring on this project. The Tampa Bay Living Shoreline Suitability Model provides stakeholders with tools to guide decisions on how to best protect coastal ecosystems.
The Living Shoreline Suitability Model is being applied to approximately 750 linear miles of shoreline within Tampa Bay Estuary Program’s boundary, extending from the western side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, northward through “The Narrows” of Indian Rocks Beach, southward to the Manatee Avenue Bridge near Holmes Beach and westward to the eastern side of Egmont Key. This project is the product of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Center for Spatial Analysis and is now 100% complete. Christopher Boland and James Burd Jr. are the researchers involved with this project. Visit the Living Shoreline Suitability Model webpage here: https://myfwc.com/research/gis/regional-projects/living-shorelines/
Below: A map overlay of the best management practices recommendations for shoreline of Tampa Bay.