BEAUFORT, S.C. (WCBD) – Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island and several environmental groups recently received a major grant to improve the environmental resiliency of the area.

$1.2 million will be put towards creating a living shoreline in the area.

Living shorelines fortify the shoreline with natural materials such as oyster shells and salt marsh grasses. They reduce the impact of storm surges, absorb floodwaters, dissipate wind and wave energy, improve water quality, and provide a habitat for local wildlife, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

Volunteers construct “manufactured wire reefs” or MWRs that will be place along the shoreline to recruit new oyster growth. (Photo: Kaitlyn Hackathorn/SCDNR)

The shoreline will be constructed over four years and span about 3.1 acres, which SCDR estimates “will ultimately protect about 390 acres.”

Project sites will be along the Beaufort River, Battery Creek, and Archers Creek.

Parris Island said that strengthening the environment also strengthens our national security, since Parris Island is only available via a causeway and is “extremely vulnerable to flooding.” Resources in the surrounding communities, which are also vulnerable to flooding, are also “mission critical to the infrastructure that supports the human capital needed to maintain Parris Island.”

The project will be carried out by mostly volunteers from the Coastal Conservation League, SCDNR, the Sustainability Institute, MCRD Parris Island, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.