In a major step toward better protecting coastlines, estuaries and lake shores, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has eased the permitting process for living shoreline projects, the Pew Charitable Trusts informs.
Living shorelines – typically consisting of native elements including vegetation, oyster reefs or rock sills – have proved effective in providing such protections when compared with hard infrastructure, like seawalls and bulkheads.
The new Corps policy will reduce the time and cost associated with gaining a permit, encouraging more property owners to use living shorelines.
Pew-supported research found that living shorelines foster more biodiversity than do seawalls. Further, “hard” barriers often lead to the loss of wetlands and other natural habitats; some 14 percent of the U.S. coastline is already hardened.
The new permit process removes major barriers to implementing living shorelines projects across the country and puts the approval process for nature-based solutions on a par with permitting for hard infrastructure.