ABSTRACT

O'Donnell, J.E.D., 2017. Living shorelines: A review of literature relevant to New England coasts.

Over the last few decades, increasing awareness of the potential adverse impacts of traditional hardened coastal protection structures on coastal processes and nearshore habitats has prompted interest in the development of shoreline stabilization approaches that preserve intertidal habitats or at least minimize the destructive effects of traditional shoreline protection approaches. Although many terms are used to describe shoreline stabilization approaches that protect or enhance the natural shoreline habitat, these approaches are frequently referred to as living shorelines. A review of the literature on living shorelines is provided to determine which insights from locations where living shorelines have proved successful are applicable to the New England shorelines for mitigating shoreline erosion while maintaining coastal ecosystem services. The benefits of living shorelines in comparison with traditional hardened shoreline protection structures are discussed. Nonstructural and hybrid approaches (that is, approaches that include natural or manmade hard structures) to coastal protection are described, and the effectiveness of these approaches in response to waves, storms, and sea-level rise is evaluated.

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