The lost of natural ecosystems such as mangrove swamps and temperate wetlands along ocean coastlines has made us more vulnerable to rising sea levels. So why not try to recreate them artificially?

That’s sort of the idea in a Northeastern University’s project to create a system of interconnected circular mats of floating vegetation dubbed the “Emerald Tutu,” (a play on Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parkways and waterways). You can read details at the university website here. The Globe has a story with some good pictures here.

They have one mat in the water in Salem with a second set slated for launch in Boston Harbor. They’re about seven feet in diameter and designed to have marsh grasses growing on top and seaweed below. The mats are composed of biodegradable material like coconut fiber, wood chip byproduct, burlap canvas and marine-grade rope.

The more vegetation that grows on the mats when they’re in the water, the more wave energy they can absorb.

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