Virginia Coastal Policy Center


When living shorelines are correctly implemented, they can provide a number of benefits to landowners, localities, and the state. Based on that knowledge, in 2011, the Virginia General Assembly codified a preference for the use of living shorelines in tidal shoreline stabilization projects to facilitate a greater realization of those benefits. Despite the statutory preference, much of Virginia’s tidal shoreline may not be realizing the benefits associated with living shorelines. A recent report from the Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science indicated that, in a sample of coastal Virginia localities from 2014-2016, as many as 74% of projects permitted on unaltered shorelines were not living shorelines. Instead, traditional shoreline armoring structures, such as bulkheads and revetments, were implemented.

This paper will examine the benefits and challenges of implementing living shorelines, as well as Virginia’s current legal framework for living shorelines and its limitations. The paper will then consider ways to maximize the implementation of living shorelines in appropriate areas of Virginia, examine strategies adopted by other states, and what lessons Virginia can learn from these strategies.

This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.

Document Type

Shoreline Management and Riparian Rights

Publication Date