DEC Announces Guidance for Living Shorelines

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner, Basil Seggos, last week announced new guidance “Living Shoreline Techniques in the Marine District of New York State.”

According to the announcement, this guidance emphasizes natural and nature-based solutions to erosion control that will protect New Yorkers and the environment.

“The recent severity of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the destruction left in their wake underscores the critical importance of New York’s Living Shorelines Guidance,” Commissioner Seggos said.

Natural defenses offer some of the best protection from coastal storms and incorporating nature-based solutions into the State’s coastal resiliency planning and construction projects protects our communities. Using natural solutions is part of Governor Cuomo’s vision for more resilient coastlines better prepared to withstand the impacts of severe storms and to protect New Yorkers.”

The guidance encourages the appropriate use of natural shoreline protection measures in place of hardened or man-made approaches to coastal erosion controls. In addition, the guidance provides information on types of living shorelines, reviews how tidal wetland and protection of waters permit standards relate to living shorelines, and speaks to proper siting, maintenance, and monitoring considerations.

The guidance advances the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) signed by Governor Cuomo in 2014. CRRA’s goal is to speed New York’s adaptation to climate change, as well as creating opportunities to use living shorelines as natural buffers to coastal erosion.

New York’s guidance is part of national trends emphasizing the importance of and the value of natural and nature-based features to reduce flooding and erosion risks. Living shorelines and tidal wetlands areas are invaluable for improving water quality, marine food production, wildlife habitat, flood, hurricane, and storm control.