Why Choose a Living Shoreline Approach
Living shorelines provide the following benefits:
- Reduce wave energy and associated shoreline erosion (property loss).
- Reduce storm water flow rates thereby reducing erosion and reducing pollution entering the bay or estuary.
- Buffer the effects of storms, especially tropical storms and hurricanes.
- Build up shoreline areas by trapping sediments and stabilizing coastal land.
- Ensure natural sediment movement along shorelines.
- Improve water quality in our bays and estuaries by filtering pollutants like a living “kidney”.
- Provide for shorelines that are resilient to storm damage and sea level rise – A gradually sloping interface between land and sea helps maintain a plant community that can adapt as sea level rises.
- Trap carbon to help reduce the effects of climate change.
- Create and connect diverse animal habitats, provide migratory pathways for plants and animals, and support valuable fisheries.
- Provide recreational opportunities for people – fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and wildlife viewing are all better where there’s habitat.
- Beautify shorelines.
Recreation is more fun along a living shoreline than a hardened shoreline.
Example of a “redeemed seawall” where mangroves were planted in front of an existing hard structure.
Explore the interactive map to see recommended design options along different types of shoreline.
See how living shorelines in Florida are reversing coastal erosion along private properties, as reported by PBS Newshour.
Keep in mind that living shoreline projects should not be constructed on existing naturally-functioning shorelines. ‘Do nothing’ or coastal retreat are always the first approaches to consider. Shorelines naturally erode and accrete over time. When “do-nothing” is not an option, however, a living shoreline is preferable to shoreline hardening.