Program helps create Living Shorelines Permit, protects habitat
Living shorelines present an ecological and economic alternative to bulkheads and seawalls that may be viable for low-erosional settings. A living shoreline uses living plant material, oyster shells, earthen material or a combination of natural structures with riprap or offshore breakwaters to protect property from erosion.
The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) educates the public, state and federal regulatory agencies and private contractors about the benefits of installing natural erosion control structures to protect private and public shoreline properties. Since 2004, MASGC personnel have planned and conducted six workshops about living shorelines in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, published three extension publications related to natural erosion control structures and made numerous presentations to promote alternatives to vertical bulkheads throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Training Program adopted the structure and content of these workshops, and it has conducted multiple trainings throughout the Gulf of Mexico. More than 504 participants, including waterfront property owners, consultants, researchers and local, state, and federal managers, attended these workshops.
As a result of five separate living shoreline projects, more than 2,000 linear feet of living shorelines were installed, which protect 25 acres of salt marsh. The workshops also have proven influential in facilitating change in shoreline protection regulatory policy. In October 2011, the Mobile District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adopted a new “Living Shorelines” General Permit (GP-10). The general permit is applicable within the states of Alabama and Mississippi and will make it easier for businesses, landscape and marine contractors, and shoreline property owners to install natural erosion structures to protect their eroding shorelines as opposed to bulkheads or seawalls.
MASGC outreach activities contributed to the development of a Living Shorelines General Permit by the Mobile District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (2014)