Living Shorelines are restored shorelines that, in addition to protecting property from erosion, provide habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife. Like undisturbed natural shorelines, they also protect water quality by trapping excess nutrients and sediment. Photo by K. Duhring, VIMS.
While revetments and bulkheads and other methods that "harden" the shoreline provide property owners with erosion protection, they degrade the ability of the shoreline to provide habitat for aquatic life and to filter storm water runoff. Many low energy shorelines are being hardened where less damaging techniques for managing shoreline erosion could be employed.
The Virginia CZM Program Office has working with the program's partners to promote Living Shorelines, a technique that not only stabilizes the shoreline but provides valuable habitat and improves water quality.
Living Shorelines are shorelines that have been altered by man to protect them from erosion and to create habitat using nature-based techniques such as marsh plantings, beach nurishment, and low profile oyster reefs, breakwaters and sills.
Living Shorelines Initiative Successes Fact Sheet - June 2012 (pdf)
VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management Living Shorelines Page --- including a Living Shoreline design options, VIMS projects, workshop proceedings, a photo gallery of royalty-free downloadable images, and Living Shoreline and Living Shoreline publications.
Shoreline Technical Assistance Toolbox - NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management --- The Shoreline Technical Assistance Toolbox provides coastal resource managers with centralized access to information, resources, and tools to address shoreline erosion and management, focusing on alternatives to traditional shoreline hardening. The Toolbox includes information on planning and policy tools, alternative stabilization techniques such as “soft” or hybrid methods (e.g. marsh restoration with breakwater sill), and the economics of shoreline management. For each technique, the site also provides case studies describing how each technique has been applied. In addition, the Toolbox also includes a “resources” page that provides links to a variety websites, reports and management tools related to shoreline management.
NOAA Restoration Portal Website - Living Shorelines page --- site maintained by the NOAA Restoration Center