This month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWC: FWRI) completed the Gulf Star award, “Living Shoreline Suitability Model for Tampa Bay: A GIS Approach.” The project helped predict the suitability of living shorelines in the area. A program component was to develop outreach materials that resulted in the story map: Living Shoreline-Tampa Bay.

The work was funded through the 2016 inaugural cycle of the GOMA Gulf Star program. The Habitat Resources Team concluded the development of a living shorelines site suitability model and pilot tested it on Mobile Bay, Alabama.  It was very successful in predicting where natural shoreline restoration techniques will be successful and where they won’t.  As a continuation of the project, the Team funded the living shoreline model approach on additional sites in Tampa and Perdido, Florida.

The FWRI applied the Virginia Institutes of Marine Science: Center for Coastal Resource Management’s (VIMS: CCRM) Living Shoreline Suitability Model (LSSM) to the Tampa Bay region. The LSSM considers environmental variables, such as fetch, bank height, existing shoreline conditions, and human installed structures, before recommending shoreline and upland best management practices (BMPs). The model’s recommendations can be further generalized into three categories: suitable for living shoreline stabilization, suitable for a hybrid shoreline stabilization technique, and not suitable for a living shoreline. The results of the application to the Tampa Bay region were presented to numerous stakeholder groups.

To clearly explain and disseminate the shoreline model results, FWRI created the online story map. Each map page takes the user through the basics of shoreline stabilization and best practices. The public can zoom in on the Tampa Bay area detailed maps to see what recommendations were made in specific areas.

Get more detailed information on how this project was conducted by contacting the Habitat Resources Team. View the Tampa Bay Living Shorelines Story Map.

Gulf Star is a public-private partnership administered by GOMA. GOMA partners with agencies, businesses, private organizations, and citizens to provide funding for projects that are tied directly to Gulf economies such as sustainable seafood, loss of critical habitats, coastal resilience, water resources, living marine resources, and monitoring. The most recent addition to the partnership is the Hess Corporation. To join them and the other Gulf Star partners, learn more.