Summary of Living Shoreline Research to Inform Regulatory Decision-Making in South Carolina

Report Resource
August 2019
Publication Cover

Coastal marsh habitats are at risk due to sea level rise, increased storm intensity, coastline development, and shoreline hardening. Living shorelines, like those formed by oyster reefs, support a healthy coastal environment and can reduce erosion and protect coastal areas from storm hazards. 

Living shorelines have been a part of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ coastal management, conservation, and education strategies for over 20 years, but permitting projects on private land has been difficult. Based on property owners’ increasing interest in living shorelines and the benefits to the coastal environment, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is pursuing a regulatory pathway to easily and effectively permit them. To ensure that the resulting regulations and project standards developed are based on sound science, the state partnered with ACE Basin and North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to conduct a multi-year project to evaluate the effectiveness of a variety of greener living shoreline technologies under a number of coastal environmental conditions.

This report summarizes the results of a collaborative research effort that included monitoring older, pre-existing living shorelines, as well as installing and monitoring new and previously used technologies under a range of environmental conditions.  This factsheet illustrates the types of shoreline techniques tested. The results and guidance are intended to provide agency partners with the science-based information for creating a regulatory pathway and developing project standards for living shorelines in South Carolina. This document will be updated as the science continues to develop, particularly with continued monitoring as living shorelines age. Updates will be posted here:

Suggested Citation: South Carolina Dept of Natural Resources. 2019. Summary of Living Shoreline Research to Inform Regulatory Decision-Making in South Carolina. Charleston, SC: South Carolina Marine Resources Division. Technical Report No. 110. 49 pages.