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Designing with Nature: Case Histories of Current Living Shoreline Projects in New England
Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBFs) can provide significant benefits relative to hard coastal structures (i.e., revetments, bulkheads) and can be key components for creating coastal resilience. NNBFs include an array of features including beaches and dunes, scrub shrub, wetlands and constructs characterized as Living Shorelines.

Living Shorelines are generally defined as a green infrastructure technique using native vegetation alone or in combination with low sills to stabilize shorelines (NOAA). NNBFs, including Living Shorelines, are highly dynamic systems and require completely different approaches to design, permitting, construction and cost management relative to traditional hard coastal structures. Further, Living Shorelines in New England are often used in areas with energetic wave environments, which present specific additional design and maintenance considerations.

This session focuses comprehensively on the design, permitting, construction, performance, monitoring and emerging best practices of Living Shorelines in New England, with particular emphasis on (i) stakeholder engagement and collaboration; (ii) the importance - often overlooked - of constructability during design-phase; (iii) risk-based approaches to natural system design and performance valuation; and (iv) construction-phase lessons learned.

Presentations will be provided on (I) Living Shorelines design; (ii) performance expectations and monitoring; (iii) environmental considerations and permitting; and (iv) construction insights. A moderated panel discussion will follow.

We highlight two projects: (1) Rose Larisa Park Living Shoreline located on Narragansett Bay, constructed during Spring 2020, and (2) the Hepburn Dune and Marsh Preservation Living Shoreline Project on the Long Island Sound coastline), constructed in 2019. Designer GZA Geoenvironmental and Constructor SumCo Eco-Contracting completed both projects.

The Rose Larisa Park Living Shoreline project includes two nature-based shoreline protection treatments: a hybrid bluff protection structure consisting of coir fiber logs and vegetation with stone toe protection and a salt marsh creation using an intertidal stone sill, plantings and selective tree removal to minimize habitat shading. The Hepburn Dune and Marsh Preservation Living Shoreline project includes 450 lf of marsh and shoreline stabilization and was initiated as a Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) pilot project.
Nature-Based Shoreline Management, Living Shorelines, and Erosion