Shorelines are dynamic environments that undergo natural erosion and accretion by the fluctuation of wave energy and tidal exchange. However, these processes can be exacerbated by human activities, causing harm to shorelines by making them less resilient to changes such as sea level rise and erosion.
Living shorelines can reduce wave damage to the coast and inland structures by creating a solution that incorporates both green and gray infrastructure along the shoreline.
DEP worked alongside Cummins Cederberg to create a catalog of the living shoreline efforts throughout Florida. The collaboration produced a Living Shoreline Database that includes permit information on public living shoreline projects throughout Florida. Below is the full living shoreline database available for public access and download.
Cost efficiency for structural stabilization in low-energy environments.
Increased wildlife access in critical habitat areas.
A natural buffer that reduces coastal erosion by absorbing wave energy.
Decrease in harmful nutrients/pollutants entering coastal waters.
Increased aesthetic value and privacy.
Please see the Living Shoreline Outreach Story Map below for more information on living shoreline project benefits and challenges. This interactive page provides firsthand information by willing project leads from the RCP database on some successful outcomes, challenges and public feedback toward living shorelines across the state.
This project utilized a green infrastructure design for buffering new infrastructure and the surrounding community from storm and flood damage. This area is a critical component of the community as it serves as the hurricane evacuation route for the coastal community and a primary route used by residential and commercial pedestrians and vehicles. The green infrastructure design created additional habitat and provided ecological benefits to a densely urbanized and trafficked area of Miami Beach.
This project was designed to increase shoreline resiliency along Sarasota Bay by removing degraded seawall, replacing it with a softer, sloped riprap design and restoring living shoreline and breakwater. This was critical to protecting the public shoreline from further erosion and increasing resiliency to future climate impacts. Additionally, the project will continue to provide education to the park visitors on the benefits of living shorelines and climate adaptation.
This project was completed with combined efforts from multiple entities to improve coastal resiliency along a portion of Highway 98 between Carrabelle Beach and Eastpoint. The goal was to increase coastal resilience through the use of green infrastructure in the form of coastal reefs and emergent marshes. In addition to restoring the valuable ecosystem services provided by emergent marshes, submerged seagrasses and oyster reefs, the green infrastructure also reduces erosion by absorbing wave energy.
This project was performed in phases to construct a living shoreline at Floridatown Park located in Escambia Bay. This area has seen severe impacts from storm surges and sea level rise, altering the estuarine ecosystem and processes of the area. Data collection/analysis and development of the living shoreline, compared to alternative shoreline armoring techniques, was evaluated in Phase I. This project consisted of Phase II, which addressed the design and permitting of the living shoreline.
This project worked on permitting and planning the implementation of two living shorelines along Cedar Key’s Daughtry Bayou, which is subject to rapid erosion rates and impacts from storm surges and sea level rise. In addition to shoreline stabilization, the living shorelines were also planned along 1,500 linear feet of critical coastal infrastructure. This includes critical roads and utilities to the surrounding area. The project was accomplished by the partnership of the University of Florida and the city of Cedar Key.
This project restored approximately 2,600 feet of shoreline along the south Titusville Causeway in Brevard County. This specific area has consistently seen erosion, which has significantly impacted the Indian River Lagoon, area wildlife and public recreation. The restoration practices included seagrass planting, seeding clams and constructing wave attenuation devices (WAD). The outcomes from this project have been the overall protection of the shoreline area by increased sand accretion, reduced erosion, and enhancement of the surrounding ecosystem.
Holland Park, located on the south banks of West Lake and the Intracoastal Waterway, currently experiences flooding during high tides. The city of Hollywood has begun a tidal flooding mitigation and shoreline protection program that consists of seawall improvements and a living shoreline along the entire length of the park’s shoreline. Holland Park is an ideal site to be elevated using a living shoreline, which will enhance the usability of the park and protect the adjacent neighborhood from high tides and projected sea level rise.
This project for Bradenton Beach will focus on a section of Bay Drive South from Bridge Street to Fifth Street South. The project consists of one phase that includes design, development and permitting of a resilient shoreline along the highly vulnerable section of Bay Drive. Living shorelines will be designed to create a breakwater parallel to the shore. Design of the shoreline will be developed utilizing data and guidance from the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition and other technical working groups. Workshops will also be held to engage and educate the public on the overall process of design, construction and function of the living shoreline.
ERM is collaborating with The Nature Conservancy to design, permit and construct the Palm Beach Resiliency Island Project. The project consists of restoring a remnant island in Lake Worth Lagoon by deploying several nature-based solutions. The project objective is to create and restore coastal habitat while demonstrating techniques for protecting and increasing the resilience of natural shorelines and coastal communities from erosion, seasonal high tides, storm surge and sea level rise.
Due to considerable escarpments, undermined vegetation and exposed stabilization materials, the Martin County Indian Riverside Park has experienced substantial shoreline erosion. Previous efforts including oyster bags, reef balls and construction of a shorefront sheet pile retaining wall. Despite these efforts, a robust solution for long-term shoreline stabilization is needed to limit erosion and increase resilience to sea level rise. The county intends to implement a living shoreline across the park by use of durable segmented breakwater to stabilize the existing unstructured shoreline and nearshore habitats, create protected areas for seagrass recruitment and enhance the park’s existing mangrove habitat.
This living shoreline will utilize a nature-based strategy to protect mangrove and bay beach habitat and stabilize the shoreline to reduce severe erosion that is threatening the adjacent road and 34 acres of mangrove habitat to the south. The proposed Woodring Road Living Shoreline project will incorporate reef balls, oyster shell and riprap placed below mean high water to provide habitat and wave attenuation, reducing impacts to vegetation along the shoreline to allow existing vegetation to expand and new vegetation to establish. Monitoring will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of the project in improving mangrove and oyster habitat and to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach for shoreline stabilization.
Fernandina Beach conducted a 2019 Amelia Riverfront Study for the project to protect 1.1-mile historic downtown waterfront area from storm surge flooding. The completed study has provided actionable resiliency recommendations for a nine-phase project, broken into nine locational segments of the downtown waterfront. The project aims to armor the existing slope and develop a living shoreline consisting of oyster shell bags and marsh grass plantings to prevent erosional impacts to the shoreline.
Coastal systems maintain a natural cycle of sediment transport that is vital for productive bays, estuaries, salt marshes and tidal flats. Understanding these erosion and sediment processes, along with careful site planning, can help determine the best method of shoreline stabilization to protect waterfront and water quality.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.