Living shorelines are a nature-based, cost-effective technique for protecting our coasts from erosion and sea level rise. Since 1998, NOAA has supported more than 200 living shoreline projects across the country with funding and technical assistance provided through programs like our Community-based Restoration Program. Explore the national map of living shoreline projects on the NOAA Habitat Blueprint website to learn more about our projects in your area.
Living shorelines provide an alternative to traditional hardened shorelines. Structures like bulkheads, revetments, and concrete seawalls create barriers between the land and water. Living shorelines incorporate plants, rocks, and oysters to naturally stabilize shorelines from erosion, while also maintaining and improving habitat and sustaining coastal resilience.
Unlike a concrete seawall or other hard structure, which impedes the growth of plants and animals, living shorelines grow over time. They also offer benefits like improved water and air quality, flood prevention, and carbon storage. Living shorelines are also typically less expensive to build and maintain than their traditional hardened counterparts.