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Eco-Friendly Solutions | Climate Change Impacts

Living Shorelines


Shorelines stabilized with hardened structures, such as bulkheads, revetment, and concrete seawalls, often increase the rate of coastal erosion, remove the ability of the shoreline to carry out natural processes and provide little habitat for estuarine species.

"Living shorelines" are stabilized natural bank, using plants, sand, and limited use of rock to provide shoreline protection and maintain valuable habitat. Wetland plants, submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster reefs, coir fiber logs, sand fill, and stone are used to provide natural organic structures.

The benefits of living shorelines include: :

Living Shoreline Resources

1. NOAA Living Shoreline Brochure (4.6MB)
2. NOAA Living Shorelines implementation techniques

3. Development Strategies for Promoting Coastal Resiliency and Sustainability (PDF, 3 MB). Saugus River Watershed Council with Massachusetts Enivronmental Trust funding - identifies building and site design techniques for coastal development and redevelopment that are more resilient to erosion, coastal storms, and sea level rise, while being sensitive to natural resources.

Salem Living Shoreline Project

Much of Salem’s shoreline is hardened. That is why it is so important to protect the natural areas that are threatened by erosion and sea level rise. SSCW is working with the City of Salem to find natural approaches to mitigating coastal erosion and flooding problems by surveying all municipal properties along the shore and involving Chester Engineers in the conceptual design for 3 Salem sites.

SSCW will also be surveying as much privately owned shoreline as possible to indentify the needs of Salem and its residents to maintain our important coast line. If you live along Salem's shore, call us to arrange a walk of your shoreline.


The Living Shoreline Project has been funded by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Grant Program through its StormSmart Coasts program.