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Support Grows for Living Shorelines in North Carolina

Published on: 05/14/2015
Research Area(s): Coastal Change
Primary Contact(s): carolyn.currin@noaa.gov
Tracy Skrabal, of North Carolina Coastal Federation, instructs workshop participants in the use of the dibbler for planting Spartina alterniflora at a Living Shoreline site on Pivers Island. Credit: North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve

Tracy Skrabal, of North Carolina Coastal Federation, instructs workshop participants in the use of the dibbler for planting Spartina alterniflora at a Living Shoreline site on Pivers Island. Credit: North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve.

In recent decades, increased development along our nation’s estuarine shorelines has led to shoreline hardening as landowners attempt to protect their properties from coastal erosion. Estuarine shorelines are a transition zone between open water and upland regions and provide a variety of ecosystem services, including essential habitat to commercially and ecologically important species, buffering storm-driven waves, and helping protect coastal water quality.Erosion control structures, like bulkheads (vertical walls), interrupt the critical functions of shorelines and often lead to elevated rates of erosion on the shoreward side of the structures. Living shoreline approaches, including the placement of wetland vegetation and near shore oyster reefs, may be equally beneficial for erosion control, while maintaining the connection between land and water and preserving ecosystem services.

TwoCoastal Training ProgramWorkshops on living shorelines wereheld at the NOAA Beaufort Laboratory and sponsored by the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve (NC NERR) and the NC Division of Coastal Management (DCM). On May 5was aworkshop on “Promoting Living Shorelines for Erosion Control-a Workshop for Real Estate Professionals,” and on May 6, NCCOS’ Carolyn Currin provided the introductory presentation and science background for ‘Living Shorelines for Erosion Control on Estuarine Shorelines,” a workshop for marine contractors, engineers, landscape architects and land use planners.

Participants learned about the ecological importance of estuaries and natural shorelines, different shoreline stabilization techniques, best practices for working with marsh plants and oyster shells, and the living shoreline permitting process.Both groups received a guided tour of the Living Shoreline projects on Pivers Island. The workshop was videotaped by the UNC Coastal Sciences Institute, and workshop videos and materials will be available on the NC NERR and NC DCM websites.

Workshop participants learn about the effectiveness of a marsh-oyster Living Shoreline from Carolyn Currin at the NOAA Beaufort Laboratory. Credit: North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve

Workshop participants learn about the effectiveness of a marsh-oyster Living Shoreline from Carolyn Currin at the NOAA Beaufort Laboratory. Credit: North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve.

For more information, contact Carolyn.Currin@noaa.gov.

 

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