Replacing Bulkheads with Natural Solutions

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Natural beach
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Soft shore protection
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Alternatives to shoreline armoring, known as soft-shore protection, have been developed to help protect the shoreline. Soft-shore protection projects rebuild the upper beach area to provide protection of property and homes while preserving natural beach functions. These approaches use natural materials such as gravel, sand, logs and root masses to absorb wave energy and reduce erosion. One approach is to bury large rocks or concrete blocks below the beach surface, which are used to anchor large woody debris or drift logs. Placement of soft-shore features are carefully engineered, and should not be attempted without assistance by an expert and obtaining the necessary permits.

Sometimes soft-shore protection comes to you! The natural presence of driftwood and other large woody debris helps to retain sediments and absorb wave energy. If you find them washed up on your beach, leave them in place. Also, intertidal plants, dune grass and other berm vegetation can greatly increase the resilience of beaches to storm waves. Native vegetation on shorelines and bluffs are your best first line of defense against erosion.