Sunday, April 3, 2011

OCC Presents at Living Shorelines

Last week Ed Gorleski ( and Ryan Artman ( of OCC attended the American Littoral Society's Living Shorelines Workshop at Monmouth University. The title of the conference was "Advancing Living Shorelines in New Jersey" and aimed to lay the foundation for developing a Living Shorelines program in New Jersey by demonstrating successful examples of these types of projects. Throughout the course of the day, presenters gave talks that ranged from the basics of Living Shorelines to specific project examples from North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey. The focus of the discussions revolved around sharing challenges and lessons for implementing future Living Shoreline projects, evaluating and discussing regulatory complications to such projects, and producing recommendations for regulatory improvements that promote Living Shorelines. The day was ended with a state and federal agency representatives (NJDEP, USACE, NOAA, USFWS & NMFS) providing their perspectives on implementing a Living Shoreline program in NJ. 

What are Living Shorelines?

According to the Center for Coastal Resources Management, Living Shorelines, "address erosion in lower energy situations by providing long-term protection, restoration or enhancement of vegetated shoreline habitats through strategic placement of plants, stone, sand fill and other structural or organic materials. Living Shoreline Treatments do not include structures that sever the natural processes & connections between uplands and aquatic areas." The benefits of Living Shorelines include:

  • Reducing bank erosion and property loss to you or your neighbor
  • Providing an attractive natural appearance
  • Creating recreational use areas
  • Improving marine habitat & spawning areas
  • Allowing affordable construction costs
  • Improving water quality and clarity

OCC was invited to present at the conference and gave a talk entitled Southwest Mordecai Island Ecosystem Restoration Project - SWMER Phase I & II. The talk focused on the design process (several years worth) that OCC went through to implement the Mordecai Island project, challenges that we faced during the process and lessons learned in taking a Living Shoreline project from concept to construction. 

By the conclusion of the workshop, many good ideas were discussed to develop a strategy for implementing Living Shorelines in NJ. The next steps will be critical and include future meetings and workshops, developing a framework and standard for a successful project, and working with regulatory agencies to promote the concept of Living Shorelines.


For more information, please contact Ed at