Living Shorelines

Traditional Bulkhead

Traditional Bulkhead

Living Shoreline

Living Shoreline

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources defines living shorelines as, "the result of applying erosion control measures that include a suite of techniques which can be used to minimize coastal erosion and maintain coastal process. Techniques may include the use of fiber coir logs, sills, groins, breakwaters or other natural components used in coination with sand, other natural materials and/or marsh plantings. These techniques are used to protect, restore, enhance or create natural shoreline habitat."

Re-Creating Nature

Erosion is a normal process, one that occurs naturally over time; the concern isn't with erosion itself, but its pace. Eroding shorelines, streambanks and hillsides can cause big headaches for landowners.  In attempts to slow or halt erosion, landowners have used bulkheads, riprap and and dumped materials to stabilize their shorelines. these methods eliminate the sand beaches and wetlands so critical to wildlife and necessary for good water quality. They also block wildlife access between the water and land.  

Living shorelines, on the other hand, replicate natural coastlines by using biologs, sand, stones, oyster reefs and other natural elements to restore the shore's margins and protect wetlands, while allowing wildlife access. They offer many benefits such as: 

  • Allow natural coastal processes to occur

  • Increase land and water habitat

  • Filter nutrients from upland areas

  • Likely increase property value

Learn More ... 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Virginia Institute of Marine Science Center for Coastal Resource Management

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Environmental Concern

NOAA Habitat Conservation

For a list of contractors, please visit WSA's Connect and Collaborate page

When looking for a contractor:
           1.  Ask for references (You want to be sure that the work they have done was                          completed in a timely manner, at a sufficient level of quality, within the                                  contracted price)
           2. Ask to see completed work done by the contractor
           3. Approach at least 3 different contractors for quotes(You want to have a good                      understanding of the market to ensure that you are getting a reasonable quote)
           4. Ensure your contract includes plans, costs, and timelines
           5. Your contractor can find more information about installing this practice in the                      Watershed Stewards Academy Rainscaping Guide For Contractors

For information on funding your project, please visit our Resources Page to view our Grant Assistance Cheat Sheet