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Living Shorelines

How Do I Select The Appropriate Method For My Property?

Living shorelines methods should be selected and designed based on the local site conditions, often in consultation with an installation professional. Method selection should take into account both your goals for the site and the physical site conditions present. Visit SCDHEC’s website to learn how to apply for a permit.

  • Consider Your Primary Goal For Installing A Living Shoreline

    Are you looking to promote sediment accretion to combat erosion? Protect or expand existing marsh? Facilitate oyster growth and habitat creation? Or a combination of all of these? The various methods can be used individually, or in combination, to meet a variety of goals for the site.

  • Consider The Physical Conditions At Your Site

    Observe the following:

    1. What types of natural habitat are present at and adjacent to the site?
    2. What is the extent, rate, and cause of the current erosion problem?
    3. What is the site slope, orientation, prevailing currents, and wave action?
    4. Are other hard shoreline stabilization structures adjacent or nearby?
    5. Does erosion occur mostly during large storms, or year-round?
    6. What are the current land uses adjacent to the site? Are there shellfish beds or other uses of the surrounding tidal area?
    7. How much boat traffic occurs along the shoreline?
    8. Is the site suitable for planting vegetation?
    9. What would be the result if nothing was done to the site?

    (Adapted from NOAA Guidance for Considering the Use of Living Shorelines, 2015)

    Also, refer to the “Is a living shoreline right for me” page. 

    Having a better understanding of the conditions of the site, and your definition of success can help to narrow down the best method to use for your living shoreline. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources created a helpful flowchart to identify the best methods based on site characteristics.

    site conditions flow chart for living shorelines

    Flow chart of site conditions (blue circles) and materials (orange circles) to guide living shoreline method and site selection. This is a preliminary list of living shoreline materials; future methods will include the same considerations per site. Summary of Living Shoreline Research to Inform Regulatory Decision Making in South Carolina, SCDNR 2019.

Living Shorelines
Living Shorelines | 259 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29401