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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Admin : Delaware Wetlands : LivingShorelineBenefits


Living shorelines provide a multitude of benefits to you and the environment:

  • Filter pollutants from water to improve water quality
  • Reduce potential for shoreline erosion issues
  • Absorb storm energy and protect property
  • Connect animals to their critical nursery areas
  • Increase the number and types of fish and wildlife
  • Allow for natural sand and soil movement


There are different options for living shoreline projects, and the design of the project is determined by the:

  • location,
  • presence of fresh or salt water, 
  • wave energy,
  • currents,
  • and wind speeds.

Living Shoreline Design TypeLow energy sites use non-structural designs where only a small amount of erosion and wave action occurs. These projects include the use of natural materials and can involve grading banks, managing vegetation, installing biologs and planting marshes.

Medium energy sites use hybrid designs where shoreline erosion and wave action are a bit more intense and natural materials are not enough to prevent erosion.  These projects combine the "soft" natural materials found in non-structural designs with "hardened" structures such as marsh sills or toes and oyster castles.

High energy sites use structural designs where the shoreline has severe erosion and high wave action.  These projects may use "hardened" structures such as breakwaters in addition to "soft" materials to lessen the impact of wave energy entering the site.  Breakwaters by themselves are not considered a living shoreline tactic.

Living shorelines can naturally adjust to changing environmental conditions, but do need periodic maintenance.

Living Shoreline Quick Links:
What is it?

Current Projects

Indian River Living Shoreline Non-Structural Materials
Indian River Living Shoreline Low Energy Design

Mispillion Living Shoreline Hybrid Design
Mispillion River Living Shoreline Medium Energy Design Using Oyster Castles

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