is a living shoreline right for me?
A living shoreline may be a good option for you if your shoreline is eroding or if your current shoreline structure is starting to fail. On this page you will find an overview of living shorelines. For resources on homeowner assistance programs check out the For Homeowners and Additional Resources page.
Consider your “shorescape”. The condition of your shoreline is influenced by the land adjacent to it (your yard). Learn how to make your yard more river-friendly through the River Hero Homes program.
There are many design options for living shorelines which can be tailored to suit a site based on shoreline conditions, shoreline use, salinity, and landowner input. Below are examples of design options for shorelines in the James River watershed. See also the SAGE Living Shorelines Brochure from SageCoast for illustrations and more info.
This project was completed by the Elizabeth River Project, and uses a fiber log (also called a coir log) that stabilizes the edge of the marsh as the plants grow; eventually the fiber log will decompose.
This project was also completed by the Elizabeth River Project, and uses oyster castles to protect the marsh. The oyster castles act as an artificial oyster reef - over time oysters will colonize the concrete oyster castles. Pictures were taken at low tide.
This project demonstrates the use of a sill - the first image was taken during construction and the second was taken 10 years later. These images are courtesy of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Center for Coastal Resources Management.
This shoreline at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science demonstrates a breakwater system. Breakwaters are suited for high-energy shorelines where wind, waves, and boat traffic can impact shoreline conditions. These images are courtesy of the Center for Coastal Resources Management.
Living shorelines provide benefits to property owners, wetlands, waterways, and the surrounding communities. These benefits include: