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Living Shorelines for Storm and Flood Protection
Anne N. Connor explains some of the lessons learned from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Florence on the Carolina coastline in 2018:
While the areas with “hard” solutions — seawalls — sustained damage and significant erosion, a section of coastline with a “soft” solution, called a “living shoreline,” fared much better. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Beaufort Living Shoreline oyster reef and marsh was “intact after the storm, with minimal erosion.”
According to Connor, living shorelines are an increasingly common climate change adaptation tactic. There are more than 120 living shorelines around the country, an approach to coastal storm protection that proves both more effective and less expensive than seawalls.
The idea now has federal support as well, after America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 was signed into law by President Donald Trump. The law "requires the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to consider soft solutions such as living shorelines when planning to protect the coast against flooding."