“Living Shorelines” Offer Erosion Solution

Happy Earth Day!

How are you celebrating?

If you live near the water, you might think about creating a “living shoreline.”

Westporters have spent years dealing with coastal erosion. For reasons both natural (tides, hurricanes) and manmade (weather patterns due to climate change, construction of jetties and homes), we know that sands shift.

Many homeowners do what they can to counter Mother Nature. Some raise their houses, or move them back from the shore.

Others build walls. Sometimes they work well. Sometimes — even at the same time — they impact neighboring properties.

A nor’easter damaged this 1915 Compo Cove house. It’s weathered many storms — but construction on the cove has affected many erosion patterns. (Photo/Robin Tauck)

A living shoreline is one of those ancient ideas now gaining new interest.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it’s built with natural materials like plants, sand, rock — even oyster shells. Unlike stone, concrete or wooden seawalls or similar structures — which are hostile to the growth of plants and animals — living shorelines grow over time.

They’re being built in various spots along the Eastern Seaboard. Bays, rivers and homes on the water are excellent sites.

“Living shorelines are both beautiful and practical,” the NOAA notes.

They add attractive, low-maintenance green space and focal points for people to gather. Their services to the environment … include purifying water, buffering floods, reducing erosion, storing carbon, and attracting wildlife to habitat.

Evidence shows that during major storms, a living, natural shoreline performs better than a hardened shoreline. People (and animals) who enjoy fishing will appreciate how it supports fish and other creatures.

They cost $1,000 to $5,000 per linear foot — less than “hard shorelines.”

Two examples of a living shoreline…

Permits are needed. However, living shorelines are covered by the Connecticut Coastal Management Act.

Bridgeport and Stratford currently support living shoreline projects on public land.

But living shorelines are also feasible on private property.

If you live on water and are looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day — and the earth, every day — click here for more information.

… and one more.

2 responses to ““Living Shorelines” Offer Erosion Solution

  1. Richard Fogel

    surely, we are in big trouble.

  2. Living shorelines are an amazing example of responsible and resilient shoreline development; so much better for our coastal waters than a seawall or other “hardened” shoreline would be. Better for homeowners (cost and protection from erosion) and for the environment; a real win-win! Would love to see more of them around here!