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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Coastal Management - Resources for Homeowners and Professionals

Coastal Management

Resources for Homeowners and Professionals 

Below is a list of available resources for homeowners and technical professionals (e.g., marine contractors, landscape architects, engineers, etc.) who are interested in learning more about implementing a living shoreline.  

How to Protect your Property from Shoreline Erosion: A Handbook for Estuarine Property Owners in North Carolina - Weighing Your Options

  • This guide serves as a tool for those interested in learning about the options available in for shoreline stabilization in North Carolina. In addition to providing information about stabilization methods and permitting, the guide also has a worksheet that asks site-specific questions designed to help users learn more about their estuarine shoreline property before making a decision about which control option to implement. 

Living Shoreline Workshops 

  • The N.C. Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve's Coastal Training Program held a living shorelines workshop - Living Shorelines for Erosion Control on Estuarine Shorelines - for realtors and technical professionals. Click on the link to access presentations by speakers from partnering organizations, like DCM, the N.C. Coastal Federation, and N.C. Sea Grant.

Shoreline Erosion Control Using Marsh Vegetation and Low-Cost Structures 

  • North Carolina Sea Grant developed this helpful publication that not only explains the role of marsh vegetation in reducing shoreline erosion, but also highlights the types of plants that work best based on site-specific characteristics and provides advice for planting various types of vegetation. 

N.C. Coastal Federation - Living Shorelines 

  • The N.C. Coastal Federation has been involved in numerous living shoreline projects in North Carolina. Details and photos from projects in the northeast, central, and southeast regions of our coast are available on this site. 

Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) website

  • CCRM exists to develop and support integrative and adaptive management of Virginia's coastal zone resources. Learn about the efforts of our neighboring state to promote the use of living shorelines. This site provides design options, guidance, and resources in determining if a living shoreline option is right for your situation.  

Living Shorelines Database

  • This is a database of existing living shoreline projects around the United States. This database lists and maps the locations of individual projects and includes a variety of site and design information. As new case study sites become available, they will be added to the site.  

Pivers Island Beach Marsh and Oyster Restoration Project

  • In 2000, volunteer staff from Duke Marine Lab and NOAA undertook the restoration of an eroding beach on Pivers Island, Beaufort, NC. A living shoreline was created by planting marsh grass and depositing oyster shell seaward of the marsh. This project demonstrates how living shorelines combat coastal erosion and provide critical estuarine habitat. 

Impacts of Hurricane Irene on Pivers Islands Shorelines

  • Three living shorelines on or adjacent to Pivers Island were assessed in 2011 after Hurricane Irene. All three sites had marsh protected by material ranging from oyster shell to a living reef to a granite sill. The assessment showed that during prolonged periods of high wind and wave action a living shoreline with a well-developed oyster reef can trap sediments and stabilze upland marsh just as well as a granite sill. 

 Groundbreaking report on Living Shorelines from Restore America's Estuaries

  • The report identifies three major obstacles to broader use of living shorelines: 1) institutional inertia; 2) lack of a broader planning context; and 3) lack of an advocate. To address these obstacles, the report identifies four broad strategies, including: 1) education and outreach; 2) regulatory reform; 3) improve institutional capacity; and 4) public agencies as role models. Each strategy identifies a number of specific and actionable recommendations for decision and policy makers.

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