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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48min 48sec