Giant ‘socks’ used to repair Lake Morton shore

LAKELAND — Basically, part of the Lake Morton shore is now a big sock filled with dirt, covered with grass.

The goal was to create a shoreline that is virtually indistinguishable from nature and do it at a reasonable cost, Lakes and Stormwater Manager Laurie Smith said. So far, so good, she added, as sod has taken root on the new land a couple months later. A similar, but bigger, project is planned for the south shore of Lake Beulah.

“Most of the grass we had planted on top of it … it’s rooted and doing really well,” Smith said of a 150-foot section of southeast Lake Morton repaired soon after Hurricane Irma. “We’ve got a little bit we need to re-patch because the ducks and the swans love the grass — they’ve been nibbling on it a little bit.”

The project was completed by Lake and Wetland Management, an environmental services firm that does work statewide, and utilizes “Dredgesox,” the aforementioned sock filled with dirt.

“They wanted something that looked like natural shoreline,” said Sandy Teaf, the company’s project manager for the Lake Morton repair, and the socks create “a permanent and natural solution to erosion.”

The work is done quickly. The company spent two days on the lake pulling up earlier erosion control attempts, laying down sock “like a taco laying on its side” and filling it with an amphibious dredger that pulled the fill sediment from the lake bottom.

The area was then covered in sod so the grass roots can grow through — like hair threaded into the backing of a wig — securing the dirt in place and reversing the encroachment of erosion. Over time, the sock degrades, leaving a re-creation of how the original shoreline was naturally structured.

The company started installing the Dredgesox product about five years ago, said Chad Bass, the general manager of the company’s Central Florida region, including several projects in Lakeland. This is the first for the company along Lakeland’s publicly owned shorelines.

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