Evaluating Living Shorelines to Inform Regulatory Decision-Making in South Carolina

  • Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

    Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

  • Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

    Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

  • Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

    Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

  • Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

    Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

  • Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

    Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

  • Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

    Photo credit: South Carolina DNR

Coastal marsh health and stability are a growing concern for South Carolinians as the coastal zone changes due to sea level rise and increasing development. There are a variety of living shoreline techniques that can be used to stabilize the shoreline, including the use of oyster shells, plantings, logs or rocks to reduce erosion and allow marsh grasses to flourish. As interest in living shoreline options has grown, state agencies began pursuing a regulatory pathway to facilitate permitting on private lands, but realized they needed more information on long term performance of these techniques in South Carolina before developing specific permitting guidance. To address this information need and ensure that new regulations would be based on sound science, two state agencies and two reserves collaborated on an intensive multi-year project to evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of living shoreline technologies under different coastal environmental conditions.