Advancing Nature-Based Solutions

An overview of living shorelines and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed permit

In June, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a new nationwide permit for living shoreline projects—which typically consist of vegetation combined with native elements such as oyster reefs or rock sills—to combat erosion. These natural bank-stabilization techniques provide a proven and durable alternative to hard infrastructure, such as bulkheads and seawalls, and conserve the coastal habitat of fish and marine life, shorebirds, and plants.

Speakers discussed the latest scientific research on nature-based solutions, the Corps’ efforts to advance the use of natural infrastructure projects, its Nationwide Permit Program, and the proposed living shorelines permit.


  • Charley Chesnutt, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Rachel Gittman, Ph.D.
  • Laura Lightbody, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • David Olson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  
Date: July 7, 2016
Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m. EDT
Location: via WebEx
Rachel Gittman
Rachel Gittman

A Q&A with Marine Ecologist Rachel Gittman

A Q&A with marine ecologist Rachel Gittman

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Living shorelines foster greater biodiversity than seawalls, according to a recent Pew-supported research project. The study, conducted by Rachel Gittman, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, looked at the effects of shoreline protection on coastal ecosystems. Specifically, she compared how many different species (i.e., biodiversity) and individuals of each species (i.e., abundance) were found on seawalls and bulkheads compared with living shorelines. Her article, “Ecological Consequences of Shoreline Hardening: A Meta-analysis,” will soon be published in the journal BioScience.

Marsh grass
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The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.

Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.


States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.