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The Ecology of Freshwater Wrack Along Natural and Engineered Hudson River Shorelines

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Battered by tides, ice, storms, and human activity, nearly half of New York state's Hudson River shoreline has been “armored up ” by structures such as steel bulkheads or rock revetments. While these structures can protect vulnerable infrastructure in high-energy situations, they also disrupt surrounding habitats. In response, the Hudson River Reserve launched the Sustainable Shorelines project, a long-term, collaborative initiative that is advancing understanding of the engineering, economic, and ecological tradeoffs of using different shoreline management options today—and as the climate shifts and sea levels rise—for generations to come.

About this article

This journal article reports on one component of this project: research into the ecology of wrack (organic matter that is washed onto shore) on both natural and engineered Hudson River shorelines. The authors found that engineered shorelines tended to accumulate little wrack, have high loss rates of wrack, and have low diversity of invertebrate communities.


Harris, C., Strayer, D.L., Findlay, S., 2014. The ecology of freshwater wrack along natural and engineered Hudson River shorelines. Hydrobiologia 722, 233-245.