By: Austen Erblat Contact Reporter South Florida Community News
A variety of threats — both natural and manmade — have done considerable damage to Florida’s shorelines. One company is implementing new technology in an attempt to restore them.
SOX Erosion Solutions has installed its Shoresox system in communities across South Florida, including Lauderdale Lakes, Wellington and, most recently, Coral Springs, where Lake and Wetland Management has begun shoreline restoration as a result of the city receiving additional funds from FEMA.
Brian Fischer, managing partner of SOX Erosion Solutions in Boca Raton, watched the installation of Shoresox at a suburban Coral Springs home from a small boat in the canal behind the house. He said he hopes to address the state’s shoreline erosion with Shoresox and other technology from the company.
How does it work?
Shoresox is a large taco shell-shaped knitted mesh sheet made of polyethylene — a flexible, photodegradable plastic. The sheet is laid down at an eroded shoreline. Dirt and compost is blown onto the sheet, which is then folded over the soil.The sheet is anchored below the surface of the ground with wood stakes and a patch of grass is laid on top. The mesh netting allows nutrients and plants to grow through it.
Shoreline erosion affects Florida’s coasts as well as thousands of miles of canals in the interior of the state. According to the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, canals are essential for flood management, especially in southeast Florida, but require “regular and frequent management” to make sure plants and debris don’t clog the flow of water.
“We have miles and miles of canals,” Fischer said. “So to reclaim a lot of lost land— thousands of acres of lost land throughout all these municipalities — it will increase their value again, create safety because a lot of landscapers will lose the access. They’ve got unstable ground to mow their equipment on and a lot of hazards have happened where they have flipped their mowing machines into the water. Unfortunately, some people have lost their lives.”
Recent hurricanes like Irma have only made the problem worse blowing rocks, roof tiles, patio furniture and other trash and debris into canals.
What is the best solution to the problem?
“In the past, it’s always been a Band-Aid; some rocks and that will stop the erosion,” Fischer said. “It doesn’t stop the erosion. Rocks will roll, they’ll tumble, they don’t integrate into the shoreline.”
Fischer compared the Shoresox to Lego bricks, in how modular they are.
“You could stop at one end, so if the problem is only 100 feet, we can do a 100-foot section,” he said. “If next year, they want to continue, we could sew right to where we left off and continue it. […] At any time, we can add length, I can add width or I could add height.”
After restoration of the canal shore in Coral Springs, city officials will assess the work done and the work needed and proceed from there with input from city engineers and planners.