On Monday August 1st, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of the proposed new nationwide permit for “Living Shorelines.” The intent of the new permit is to make it easier for property owners to install natural bank stabilization. This should reduce traditional coastal armoring, such as continuous bulkheads and revetments, which can eliminate emergent marsh and degrade intertidal habitat. ASBPA supports the requirement of the permit for a qualified coastal professional to be involved in the design of living shorelines projects.
ASBPA recommends some changes to the proposed permit. The draft permit sets a 30-foot limit (from mean high water) for the placement of fill and structures, and proposes a 500-foot limit along the bank for projects. These limitations are too restrictive and don’t take regional variability into account. They could also incentivize smaller projects, which may not be as effective in bank stabilization or provide the habitat values of larger projects. ASBPA also opposes the blanket statement that the permit “does not authorize beach nourishment,” which removes an important aspect of many living shorelines projects from this permit.
“Living shorelines are increasingly being used to prevent erosion and support natural habitat. It’s good to see the Army Corps of Engineers provide an option of nationwide permit,” said Bret Webb, Professor of Coastal Engineering at University of South Alabama, who helped draft the ASBPA comments. “Naturally stabilized shorelines are best equipped to respond to the dynamic coastal environment, including storms and future sea level rise.”
“Living shorelines, like any coastal protection project, need to be properly designed and engineered to be effective,” said Jon Miller, Professor of Civil Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, who also helped draft the ASBPA comments. “I’m pleased to see the nationwide permit requires a qualified coastal professional be involved in the design.”
ASBPA’s full comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Nationwide Permit “B” for Living Shorelines are available at:
ASBPA_LivingShorelinesNWP-B_Comments (PDF – 191kb)
Derek Brockbank, ASBPA executive director – (202) 827-4246 or firstname.lastname@example.org