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Nature-Based Solutions

 

Living shorelines are a nature-based shoreline management practice for the protection, restoration, or enhancement of vegetated shorelines, beaches, and habitat in the littoral zone through the strategic placement of plants, stone, sand, or other structural and organic materials. OPI is Land Use Management’s point of contact for all proposed living shorelines projects.

New Jersey’s coastal environment is dynamic, shaped by natural forces, such as wind, waves, and storms.  To protect development from these forces, shorelines are typically armored with hard structures, such as bulkheads and revetments.  However, eroding shorelines result in the degradation of the coastal environment  and impacts to natural habitats, such as tidal wetlands and spawning grounds. Intertidal habitat is eliminated, the amount of sandy beach is reduced, and the amount of organic matter, which is necessary to maintain tidal waters, is diminished. To address these losses, rather than armoring the shoreline with hard structures, such as bulkheads or revetments, the State is looking to nature-based solutions.

 

Case Study

In the vicinity of the Delaware Estuary, coastal wetlands are being lost and degraded at an alarming rate – more than an acre per day. More than 90% of our wetland tracts are eroding significantly, and coastal wetland loss is especially acute in areas dominated by micro-tidal salt marshes.  The rate of wetland losses is expected to increase with the increasing rate of sea level rise. This presents enormous challenges to coastal communities and resource managers since coastal wetlands are a hallmark habitat type in the region, responsible for coastal flood protection, fish and wildlife production, and the maintenance of water quality.

Living Shorelines

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Dredged material on coastal wetlands provides a natural means of increasing the elevation of sediment-impaired wetlands whose ability to adapt to projected sea level rise is threatened.

Thin Layer Placement

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Nature-based solutions are projects whose purpose is to reduce shoreline erosion, restore eroded wetlands, and create habitats that are rapidly diminishing in coastal areas through restoration and enhancement of vegetated shorelines, beaches, and coastal wetlands, which serve multiple ecosystem services.  Nature-based solutions, such as living shorelines, thin layer placement of dredged material on coastal wetlands, and the creation of dredged material islands, have historically been utilized and continue to be used in the State and are a first defense against coastal storms.

Dredged material islands are created through the strategic placement of appropriate dredged material to provide an opportunity for coastal wetland and upland habitat creation, to serve as nesting and resting areas for shore birds and as shallow water habitat for juvenile fishes, and to reduce wind and wave action.

Dredge Islands

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Contact OPI:

Email: OPI@dep.nj.gov  Phone: (609).633.2201  Fax: (609).292.4608

 

 

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