Coastal protection work ploughs on

Restoration work on the Eden’s saltmarsh habitat continues. Here, Clare Maynard of the University of St Andrews follows up on her initial blog about the project.

St Andrews Links greenkeepers have put substantial weight behind the project that seeks to help regenerate the saltmarsh below the seawall surrounding the Eden Course. The ‘Green Shores’ project, led by myself, is replanting saltmarsh in key sites on the Eden Estuary as part of a wider project that encompasses the Tay Estuary and Dornoch Firth.

The saltmarsh conservation effort is a collaboration between St Andrews Links, St Andrews University, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, the Ministry of Defence, Fife Council and Fife LEADER with support from Fife Coast & Countryside Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Marine Alliance for Science & Technology in Scotland.

Saltmarshes absorb wave energy and act as a natural defence to protect valuable land from coastal flooding and erosion. However, Kincaple Marsh (below) that currently protects part of the Eden Course, has fragmented and disappeared in places beside the Eden seawall. The aim of the project is to extend the marsh to provide a green and natural buffer that over time will protect and increase the lifespan of the seawall.

Kincaple Marsh

Over the next two years, native saltmarsh plants will be grown in a polytunnel adjacent to the Eden Course for transplanting on the shoreline behind biodegradable coir-filled bio-rolls. The bio-rolls are being trialled as wave breaks in order to protect the transplants until they are fully established.

Bio-rolls being put in place by the greenkeepers 

The Links greenkeeping team used a post chapper to hammer in chestnut stakes which will serve to keep the bio-rolls in place during winter storms. The Sediment Ecology Research Group, an experienced team of estuarine ecologists at the university, will closely monitor how the transplants and rolls progress over the coming years.

I’m looking forward to seeing how all this great work beds in and sharing updates on its progress in the near future!

Words by Dr Clare Maynard, Green Shores Project Manager & Research Fellow

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