Wave Mitigation, Shoreline Protection & Coastal Restoration

Floating wetlands, both natural and our BioHaven Floating Islands, as wave mitigators function in the upper part of the water depth where much of a body of water’s wave energy is concentrated. The structures effectively reduce wave height and energy in the lee of the structure by reflecting wave energy and dissipating kinetic wave energy of incoming waves. Energy losses result from breaking waves on the face of the structure and turbulent flow resulting from the interaction of the wave and the structure.

showing wave mitigation shoreline protection effects of biohaven floating islands as waves on one side and glass smooth water on the other

With large areas to restore and protect, BioHavens are practical and cost-effective. Our High-Energy BioHaven (HEB-W, HEW-N), partner-manufactured BioHaven® Floating Breakwaters, and related EcoShield™ products provide a safe and durable solution with no adverse impacts.

Wave mitigation for varied purposes

Coastal restoration and protection efforts are critical to the survival of many coastal communities, and breakwaters may be used for that purpose as well as in waterbodies hosting water sports, where wave dampening is desirable for participants.

For the emerging floating solar and FPV markets, BioHaven Floating Islands can act both as perimeter protection to floating solar arrays and also as impact-mitigating platforms.

We address obstacles to floating solar

Whether set on an inland lake, in coastal waters, or out at sea, some of the biggest challenges faced by floating solar have to do with the ability of the floating structure to withstand wind and waves and to remain in place.

A BioHaven Floating Island attenuates waves such as chop waves / wind chop. Its floating structure eliminates concerns about sinking and rises and falls with the tide. The engineered anchor design has been tested for years. It has been manufactured to hold anchor through hurricane-force winds and storm surges, and native marsh plantings provide habitat as well as water quality benefits and natural beauty.

Floating Island products are backed by 12 years of independent research.

  • Buoyancy. Today we have single-module, seamless, floating islands of about 95 square feet that can support 2,500 pounds of negative buoyancy. These can be attached together to form custom-size platforms.
  • Stability. A saturated BioHaven will weigh twenty times as much as a similar footprint of pontoon and will accumulate mass as it ages. This allows a well-anchored BioHaven platform to maintain a stationary position in the face of hurricane-force winds. Massive waves hit them, and their energy is sparged and dispersed within the water-damping matrix. Wind chop is attenuated.
  • Durability. 60+ years. Advances in construction methods include a tough coating of “armor” that protects the outer surfaces from UV and environmental damage. This is the same material that protects the insides of municipal water inventory tanks.
  • Strength. These islands, framed together as massive archipelagos, can support seven or eight times their square footage of solar panels. The largest existing BioHaven in North America is a 40,000 square foot island that supports 900 tons of gravel.
  • Resilience. BioHaven Floating Islands have withstood hurricane-force winds in the Gulf of Mexico, 48-inch snow dumps in the ocean off the coast of Alaska, a tornado in Montana, a typhoon in Singapore, and a two-day windstorm in Oregon.

All of these qualities put BioHaven Floating Island products at the top of the list of solutions to problems requiring wave mitigation.

BioHaven® floating islands (floating treatment wetlands or FTWs) have been proven to dampen wave energy in both deep water and shoreline settings. Thus, they represent a powerful new tool to protect levees, valuable shorelines or other erosion-sensitive areas.


BioHaven Wave Mitigation | Shoreline Protection | Coastal Restoration Products

a line of floating islands divides a lake

the wandering shoreline of a lake lined with floating islands

a boat towing a row of rectangular floating islands into place from a dock

aerial view of a lake with an x pattern of rectangular floating islands in the center

Contact Us

BioHaven technology is successfully used to protect and restore sensitive coastlines

Protection and restoration of sensitive coastal areas is a key use of BioHaven systems. The proven wave-dampening qualities of the BioHaven Matrix allows it to function as a breakwater, absorbing energy and protecting the shoreline from further damage. Its ability to act as a sediment trap enables marsh grasses to be re-established and thrive in areas where they have disappeared. The projects covered by this case study have been hugely successful, and have garnered a Gulf Guardian Award for Shell Oil, a key proponent of this technology.

  • Features
    • Mimics natural processes of coastal ecosystems and creates new marsh
    • Protects shorelines affected by erosion from wave action and boating activity
    • Attenuates waves such as chop waves / wind chop
    • Manufactured to hold anchor through hurricane-force winds and storm surges
    • Floating structure eliminates concerns about sinking and rises and falls with the tide
    • Shoreline Protection and Coastal Restoration
    • Wave attenuation properties prevent bank erosion and sedimentation
    • Act as sediment buffer to re-establish coastal vegetation
    • Endorsed by The Water Institute of the Gulf

  • The BioHaven Solution

    Description of Technology

    Besides offering a biological treatment surface and superior platform for growing plants, the BioHaven matrix acts as a wave attenuating device. Wave force is not merely displaced, only to transfer its energy to another location: it is dissipated. The permeability of the matrix attenuates lateral waves while the rise and fall of the islands’ edge ensures no vertical instability.

    Specific wave attenuation laboratory testing performed by Alden Labs of the matrix used to manufacture the BioHaven® Floating Breakwaters indicate that wave heights may be reduced by 80% +/-4% for small amplitude waves (such as the 90% confidence waves anticipated at the project sites). Since BFBs include live plants (in effect, becoming a floating island), roots that penetrate the BFB and that are suspended in the water column will increase the effectiveness of the BFB over time. /-4%


    • High-Energy BioHavens are lightweight, easy to deploy and require virtually no maintenance
    • They can be deployed close to shore or anchored safely in the middle of a waterbody
    • The flexible island material has no hard edges and can easily be marked with reflector posts or discs to signal their presence to water users

  • Benefits

    High-Energy BioHavens (HEBs)

    • Act as a protective barrier around floating solar FPV assets
    • Provide stable support under floating photovoltaic and solar panels
    • Absorb wind and wave impact, minimize wave energy
    • Protect shorelines, restore wetlands and create new habitat
    • Increase water clarity by absorbing particles in the water
    • Contribute to water quality by recovering and recycling nutrients
    • Delineate a safe recreational area for water-skiers and wakeboarders
    • Are an affordable and practical “green infrastructure” solution

  • Case Studies and Research