PANAMA CITY BEACH-- Naval Support Activity Panama City discovered an innovative way to address years of erosion from natural and man made causes along the NSA PC St. Andrew Bay shoreline.
"This particular side there was a lot of erosion. We were losing a lot of our land, the pine tree woods were exposed. We wanted to find a way to prevent further erosion," said Jonnie Smallman, NSA PC Natural Resource Manager.
The restoration project started in April of 2010.
Workers constructed oyster shells reefs five to ten feet from the shore to reduce wave energy.
They also planted 22,000 salt marsh grasses.
"We've learned over the decade of working here in Florida, that we cannot do any of this conservation restoration work without the assistance of partners and the military has been one of the most outstanding partners in Florida," said Debra Keller, Nature Conservancy Strategic Director.
Congressman Steve Southerland joined other officials for a tour of the site Thursday morning.
"To be here today and see it all come full circle, to know that good fisheries out on the gulf are going to benefit we're doing inside this bay as well as to prevent erosion that occurs due to storms, and just where we are. I just think its neat to see the whole continual work together," said Representative Steve Southerland, Representative Florida.
The nature conservancy and others are now working to implement more of these "living shorelines."
"This is a perfect example of a successful restoration project. And one that is being recreated in a much grander scale, all the way across the Gulf of Mexico," said Jeff Dequattro, Nature Conservancy Restoration Director.
The restoration project won a number of awards in the past, including the Environmental Protection Agencies Gulf Guardian Award.