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Shorelines are often stabilized with hardened structures, such as bulkheads, revetment, and concrete seawalls. Ironically, these structures often increase the rate of coastal erosion, remove the ability of the shoreline to carry out natural processes, and provide little habitat for estuarine species. NOAA is working to implement a more natural bank stabilization technique called ďliving shorelines.Ē This approach uses plants, sand, and limited use of rock to provide shoreline protection and maintain valuable habitat.
Living shoreline projects utilize a variety of structural and organic materials, such as wetland plants, submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster reefs, coir fiber logs, sand fill, and stone. The benefits of living shorelines include:
- Stabilization of the shoreline.
- Protection of surrounding riparian and intertidal environment.
- Improvement of water quality via filtration of upland run-off.
- Creation of habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species.
Click here to learn about living shorelines implementation techniques.