Living shorelines: the basics

Shoreline stabilization techniques from green-to-gray

Natural and Structural Measures for Shoreline Stabilization, developed by SAGE (Systems Approach to Geomorphic Engineering), NOAA, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This tri-fold brochure presents a continuum of shoreline management techniques from “green to gray,” from natural and soft to hard, and describes suitability, materials, general costs, benefits, and disadvantages of each.


Living Shorelines Academy – your digital one-stop-shop resource for all things LSL


NOAA Guidance for Considering the Use of Living Shorelines Report – Guiding Principles

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s guiding principles for living shorelines, including physical, ecological, and policy considerations.


Virginia Institute of Marine Science Center for Coastal Resources Management website

VIMS was an early advocate for living shorelines and continues to be a primary source of LSL information not only for the Chesapeake Bay, but well beyond to other estuaries.


NOAA Restoration Center – Living Shoreline Planning and Implementation

A description of living shoreline components and considerations from water to land across various habitat zones.

Florida living shorelines

Shoreline Resilience in Southeast Florida: Story Map

A new interactive story map shows how Southeast Florida is building shoreline resilience as climate change and its effects on the region are becoming increasingly evident.


Waterfront Property Owners Guide

Produced by Florida Department of Environmental Protection.


Living Shorelines: Natural Protection of Florida’s Coasts

Florida Department of Environmental Protection – Northwest District


Port Orange Shoreline Habitat Restoration and Management Plan

Adopted by the City of Port Orange, Volusia County, in 2009 to encourage living shorelines as a method to stabilize coastal properties while maintaining natural coastal processes and resources.


Saving our Shorelines – How Northwest Florida Homeowners Can Help

Northwest Florida Water Management District, content by F. Eidse. 2007. Public Information Bulletin 07-02.


A Living Shoreline Initiative for the Florida Panhandle:  Taking a Softer Approach.

Ray-Culp, M. 2007. National Wetlands Newsletter 29:6.


Florida Master Naturalist Program – Coastal Module

An adult education UF/IFAS Extension program developed by the University of Florida for persons interested in learning more about Florida’s coastal environment.


Florida Master Naturalist Program – Coastal Shoreline Restoration

This Special Topics course provides training in the restoration of living shorelines, oyster reefs, mangroves, and marsh, with focus on ecology, benefits, methods, and monitoring techniques.


Florida Native Plant Society

Local FNPS chapters can assist homeowners with selecting plants appropriate for their climate zone, elevation, salinity tolerance, and desired aesthetics.


Florida Master Gardener

Resources for plant identification, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, and contact information for local extension offices.


Regional Living Shoreline Plant Guide

Regulatory and permitting – US Army Corps of Engineers

USACE Nationwide Permit 54 – Living Shorelines


USACE Nationwide Permit 13 – Bank Stabilization


USACE Nationwide Permit 27 – Aquatic Habitat Restoration, Establishment and Enhancement Activities


US Army Corps of Engineers Issuance and Reissuance of Nationwide Permits Final Rule, 33 CFR Chapter II, Vol 82 #4, 2017

In an effort to streamline permitting, the US Army Corps of Engineers has approved over 50 nationwide permits that cover a range of activities that will “result in no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental effects”. Many proposed Living Shorelines projects are covered under these conditions, especially Nationwide Permit 54 which is focused on living shoreline construction. Explore the conditions below to see if your project applies to one of the Nationwide Permit options.

Living shoreline research

NOAA Green Infrastructure Effectiveness Database

Database of living shorelines publications searchable by keywords such as materials used, location, author, and more.


NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System Living Shorelines Webinar Series


Living shorelines – the science and management of nature-based coastal protection, 2017 for sale.

Bilkovic, D.M., M.M. Mitchell, M.K. La Peyre, J.D. Toft. 2017. Living shorelines – the science and management of nature-based coastal protection. CRC Press.


Ecological consequences of shoreline hardening: A meta-analysis, 2016

Gittman, R.K., S.B. Scyphers, C.S. Smith, I.P. Neylan, J.H. Grabowski. 2016. Ecological consequences of shoreline hardening: A meta-analysis. BioScience (2016) 66 (9): 763-773.

The authors conclude that “Seawalls supported 23% lower biodiversity and 45% fewer organisms than natural shorelines.”


Wave attenuation over coastal salt marshes under storm surge conditions, 2014

Manis, J.E., S.K. Garvis, S.M. Jachec and L.J. Walters. 2015. Wave attenuation experiments over living shorelines over time: a wave tank study to assess recreational boating pressures. Journal of Coastal Conservation 19(1), p. 1-11.


Nature-based coastal defenses in southeast Florida, 2014

Produced by The Nature Conservancy.


2013 Mid-Atlantic Living Shorelines Summit proceedings and presentations


Rethinking Living shorelines, 2012.

Pilkey, O.H., N. Longo, R. Young, and A. Coburn. 2012. Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University.


Living shorelines: Impacts of erosion control strategies on coastal habitats, 2010

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Habitat Management Series #10.


Effects of coastal development on nearshore estuarine nekton communities, 2008

Bilkovic. D.M. and M.M. Roggero. 2008. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Vol. 358: 27-39.


Mitigating shore erosion along sheltered coasts, 2007.

National Research Council. 2007. Mitigating shore erosion along sheltered coasts. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.

This report by the National Research Council is the first major assessment of erosion and armoring on sheltered coastlines, as opposed to high-energy beaches. It highlights the consequences of cumulative loss of many small parcels of shoreline habitat. Each one of those individual property owners who hardens their bit of shoreline is a domino contributing to negative impacts. Available for free download.


The importance of habitat created by molluscan shellfish to managed species along the Atlantic coast of the United States, 2007.

Coen, L.D. and R.E. Grizzle. 2007. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Habitat Management Series #8.


Management, policy, science and engineering of nonstructural erosion control in the Chesapeake Bay.

Proceedings of the 2006 Living Shoreline Summit. CRC Publ. No. 08-164, Gloucester Point, VA. 136pp.


The tide doesn’t go out anymore – the effect of bulkheads on urban bay shorelines, 1999

This paper by Scott Douglass and Brad Pickel is an important milestone in LSL history. It reports that 30% of Mobile Bay had been armored by 1997, and draws attention to the impacts of shoreline hardening.


Coastal armoring: effects, principles and mitigation, 1986

Dean, R.G. 1986. Coastal armoring: effects, principles and mitigation. Coastal Engineering Proceedings No. 20 (1986).

Sea level rise, climate change and blue carbon

Macroclimatic change expected to transform coastal wetland ecosystems this century, 2017 

Gabler, C.A., M.J. Osland, J.B. Grace, C.L. Stagg, R.H. Day, et al. 2017. Macroclimatic change expected to transform coastal wetland ecosystems this century. Nature Climate Change 7, 142-147.


Living shorelines: coastal resilience with a blue carbon benefit, 2015

Davis, J.L., C.A. Currin, C. O’Brien, C. Raffenburg, A. Davis. 2015. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0142595.


Restore-Adapt-Mitigate: Responding to climate change through coastal habitat restoration, 2012

Produced by Restore America’s Estuaries


Preparing for climate changes with living shorelines, webinar

Produced by Georgetown Climate Center.