Designing One of The First Living Shorelines in Maryland Using Reef Balls Technology

Ecosystem Planning and Restoration, LLC (EPR) was contracted by Resource Restoration Group, LLC (RRG) to develop a living shoreline design for the Arundel Rivers Federation (ARF) along a shoreline within Glebe Bay and the South River in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This segment of shoreline, owned by the Turnbull Estates Homeowner’s Association, is affected by a moderate shoreline erosion rate and has been identified by ARF as a major source of sediment to Glebe Bay, home to an existing oyster sanctuary.

EPR was hired by RRG (as the construction contractor for the work) to design the living shoreline. EPR’s proposed design helps prevent further erosion and improve oyster habitat through the incorporation of Reef BallsTM, referred to as oyster balls when targeted for oyster habitat creation, within the living shoreline design. Reef BallsTM are a patented technology developed by the Reef Ball Foundation ( and are designed to provide stable artificial habitat that can promote marine animal and plant colonization, including oysters. Due to their ability to attenuate waves, they have been used for some shoreline stabilization projects within the Southeastern United States; however, this use can still be considered experimental in the Maryland area. This is the first time these structures are intended to work in a shoreline and marsh restoration effort.

The Glebe Bay/Turnbull Estates Living Shoreline project is now currently being constructed. As of August 27, 2019, nearly six dozen concrete reef balls with baby oysters have been planted along the waterfront.

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