The latest report from Restore America’s Estuaries is titled “Living Shorelines: From Barriers to Opportunities.”
Living shorelines are a suite of techniques that offer property owners the opportunity to protect and restore their shoreline using more naturally-occurring systems like salt marsh and oyster reefs while also providing benefits to bays and estuaries.
This report provides a national assessment of the barriers that are keeping living shorelines projects and programs from being more widely used.
The report identifies three major obstacles to broader use of living shorelines:
- Institutional inertia;
- Lack of a broader planning context; and
- Lack of an advocate.
To address these obstacles, the report identifies four broad strategies, including: 1) education and outreach; 2) regulatory reform; 3) improve institutional capacity; and 4) public agencies as role models. Each strategy identifies a number of specific and actionable recommendations for decision and policy makers.
“We know what we need to do and now it’s time to make progress,” said Jeff Benoit, president and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. “Historically we have managed our shorelines by building hard structures like seawalls and bulkheads, which actually cause more erosion and create a false sense of security because when they fail, they increase flooding and risk to lives and property.”
Report authors include five experts in living shorelines policy and management including Restore America’s Estuaries, North Carolina Coastal Federation, American Littoral Society, Scheda Ecological Associates, and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant.