A handbook with information about the characteristics of Lake Champlain and the potential causes of erosion, specific shoreline stabilization options - including hard structural methods and bioengineered methods - and guidance on how to plan stabilization activities and obtain required permits.
This guidance addresses the following three questions: 1) what to consider when selecting appropriate techniques in a given location to stabilize shorelines while conserving coastal and marine resources; 2) How NOAA is encouraging the use of living shorelines as a shoreline stabilization approach through existing programs, training, partnerships, funding, and technical assistance; and 3) How to navigate NOAA’s potential regulatory (consultation and permitting) and programmatic roles in living shoreline project planning. This guidance is intended for NOAA staff and partners considering the use of living shorelines across the country.
Gedan, Keryn B, Kirwan, Matthew L, Wolanski, Eric, Barbier, Edward B, Silliman, Brian R
For more than a century, coastal wetlands have been recognized for their ability to stabilize shorelines and protect coastal communities. However, this paradigm has recently been called into question by small-scale experimental evidence. Here, we conduct a literature review and a small meta-analysis of wave attenuation data, and we find overwhelming evidence in support of established theory. Our review suggests that mangrove and salt marsh vegetation afford context-dependent protection from erosion, storm surge, and potentially small tsunami waves. In bio- physical models, field tests, and natural experiments, the presence of wetlands reduces wave heights, property damage, and human deaths. Meta-analysis of wave attenuation by vegetated and unvegetated wetland sites highlights the critical role of vegetation in attenuating waves. Although we find coastal wetland vegetation to be an effective shoreline buffer, wetlands cannot protect shorelines in all locations or scenarios; indeed large-scale regional erosion, river meandering, and large tsunami waves and storm surges can overwhelm the attenuation effect of vegetation.However, due to a nonlinear relationship between wave attenuation and wetland size, even small wetlands afford substantial protection from waves. Combining man-made structures with wetlands in ways that mimic nature is likely to increase coastal protection. Oyster domes, for example, can be used in combination with natural wetlands to protect shorelines and restore critical fishery habitat. Finally, coastal wetland vegetation modifies shorelines in ways (e.g. peat accretion) that increase shoreline integrity over long timescales and thus provides a lasting coastal adaptation measure that can protect shorelines against accelerated sea level rise and more frequent storm inundation. We conclude that the shoreline protection paradigm still stands, but that gaps remain in our knowledge about the mechanistic and context-dependent aspects of shoreline protection.
An online presentation that introduces shoreline property owners to the concept of living shorelines. The presentation includes project examples in New England and information on the principles of living shoreline design.
Geographic Focus: Ulster County, NY|Westchester County, NY|Dutchess County, NY|Orange County, NY|Rockland County, NY|Greene County, NY|Bronx County, NY|Columbia County, NY|New York County, NY|Putnam County, NY|Rensselaer County, NY|Albany County, NY
Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC)
Information about the Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project, which aims to develop science-based recommendations for shore zone management that preserve or enhance natural benefits while meeting engineering needs. The site includes links to case studies of demonstration sites for ecologically enhanced shoreline projects, and links to geospatial data and tools.
Butler, Martha P., Reed, Patrick M., Fisher-Vanden, Karen, Keller, Klaus, Wagener, Thorsten
Climate stabilization efforts must integrate the actions of many socio-economic sectors to be successful in meeting climate stabilization goals, such as limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration to be less than double the pre-industrial levels. Estimates of the costs and benefits of stabilization policies are often informed by Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) of the climate and the economy. These IAMs are highly non-linear with many parameters that abstract globally integrated characteristics of environmental and socio-economic systems. Diagnostic analyses of IAMs can aid in identifying the interdependencies and parametric controls of modeled stabilization policies. Here we report a comprehensive variance-based sensitivity analysis of a doubled-CO2 stabilization policy scenario generated by the globally-aggregated Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy (DICE). We find that neglecting uncertainties considerably underestimates damage and mitigation costs associated with a doubled-CO2 stabilization goal. More than ninety percent of the states-of-the-world (SOWs) sampled in our analysis exceed the damages and abatement costs calculated for the reference case neglecting uncertainties (1.2 trillion 2005 USD, with worst case costs exceeding $60 trillion). We attribute the variance in these costs to uncertainties in the model parameters relating to climate sensitivity, global participation in abatement, and the cost of lower emission energy sources.
Living shorelines are a type of estuarine shoreline erosion control that incorporates native vegetation and preserves native habitats. Because they provide the ecosystem services associated with natural coastal wetlands while also increasing shoreline resilience, living shorelines are part of the natural and hybrid infrastructure approach to coastal resiliency. Marshes created as living shorelines are typically narrow (< 30 m) fringing marshes with sandy substrates that are well flushed by tides. These characteristics distinguish living shorelines from the larger meadow marshes in which most of the current knowledge about created marshes was developed. The value of living shorelines for providing both erosion control and habitat for estuarine organisms has been documented but their capacity for carbon sequestration has not. We measured carbon sequestration rates in living shorelines and sandy transplanted Spartina alterniflora marshes in the Newport River Estuary, North Carolina. The marshes sampled here range in age from 12 to 38 years and represent a continuum of soil development. Carbon sequestration rates ranged from 58 to 283 g C m-2 yr-1 and decreased with marsh age. The pattern of lower sequestration rates in older marshes is hypothesized to be the result of a relative enrichment of labile organic matter in younger sites and illustrates the importance of choosing mature marshes for determination of long-term carbon sequestration potential. The data presented here are within the range of published carbon sequestration rates for S. alterniflora marshes and suggest that wide-scale use of the living shoreline approach to shoreline management may come with a substantial carbon benefit.