Experts Discuss Benefits of Living Shorelines

Communities across the U.S. are discovering the benefits of incorporating nature into their development planning and infrastructure.

That was the theme of a July 7 webinar, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, with Charley Chesnutt and David Olson of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rachel Gittman, a marine scientist who studies shorelines and ecology.

These experts discussed the benefits of living shorelines—bank-stabilization techniques that use natural materials such as plants, sand and rocks for combating erosion and conserving the essential coastal habitat of fish and marine life, shorebirds and plants.

Living shorelines offer an alternative to hard structures such as bulkheads and concrete seawalls, which can accelerate erosion and eventually fail, disrupting these habitats.

The three also detailed the importance of the nationwide permit for living shorelines that the Corps proposed last month, the first such effort to encourage greater implementation of living shorelines.