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Living Shoreline Design Guidelines

In the past 20 years, a more natural approach to shore stabilization, termed "Living Shorelines" has used marshes, beaches, and dunes effectively to protect the shoreline along Virginia's creeks, rivers, and bays. Numerous benefits result from this approach to shoreline management including creating critical habitiat for marine plants and animals, improved water quality, and reduced sedimentation. In addition, most waterfront property owners enjoy a continuous connection to the water that allows for enhanced recreational opportunities.

The links below provide references and tools needed to effectively use living shoreline strategies to manage the eroding shorelines of the Chesapeake Bay. This information is for guidance only and should not replace professional judgements made at specific sites by qualified individuals.

Class Information:

Google Earth Applications:
(To view the files listed below, please make sure you have Google Earth installed on your machine. Click here and follow Google's instructions to download and install.)

  • Mean Tide Range.kml: The difference between MHW and MLW.
  • Spring Tide Range.kml: The difference between MHHW and MLLW
  • NAVD88 to MLLW.kml: The elevation difference between vertical control NAVD88 and tidal datum of mean lower low water (MLLW).
  • Bathymetry_Line.kml: Bathymetry showing -3.28 and -6.56 foot contours from EPA Chesapeake Bay Office to support SAV Program goals. Units originally in meters.
* Note: The tide data in the applications listed above were calculated using NOAA's VDATUM grids
Reference Reports in Adobe PDF format:
Shoreline Evolution Reports: Locality based reports documenting how the shore zones evolved in the Chesapeake since 1937.
Mathews County Shoreline Management Plan: Examples of Management Strategies
Shoreline Mangement in the Chesapeake Bay: Management Strategies to significantly reduce shoreline erosion with cost-effective and environmentally acceptable methods.
Other Links :
CCRM Living Shoreline Information Web Page
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV): Interactive mapper monitoring data for SAV which serves as habitat, protection, and food for many aquatic animals.
FEMA Map Service Center: FEMA flood information, studies and maps
CCRM Permit Database: Example of Permits
Shoreline Assessment Mapper (SAM): A compilation of data useful for reviewing shoreline conditions.