A Review of Living Shorelines: Evaluating Nature-Based Solutions to Preserve Our Shorelines and Combat Sea-Level Rise

Marsh, Keegan, Environmental Sciences - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Macko, Stephen, Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

Increased human populations along coastlines, increased storm duration and intensity, and sea-level rise exacerbate coastal erosion, effectively pressuring business and homeowners to implement shoreline stabilization and protection measures. Historically, traditional shoreline protection has been achieved through the installation of shoreline armoring structures, such as bulkheads, seawalls, and riprap revetments. However, a growing body of evidence exemplifying the adverse consequences shoreline armoring structures have on shorelines and the ecosystem has led to concern about the use of these structures. In order to avoid further coastal ecosystem degradation, the “living shoreline” approach was introduced. Living shorelines have the unique ability to restore and preserve coastal ecosystems while also providing protection from sea-level rise to coastal communities. This paper reviews and evaluates current shoreline armoring and living shoreline approaches to determine drawbacks and benefits as sea-level rise persists, and provides an emphasis on site-specific design, long-term monitoring, and landscape-scale analysis as the living shoreline concept continues to develop and evolve.

MA (Master of Arts)
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