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Virginia CZM Program 2008 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Project Title:

Living Shoreline Design and Construction Guidance Manual

Project Description as Proposed:

The goal of this project is the development of a manual that will provide design and construction guidance for contractors, coastal managers, planners, local governments, homeowners and anyone else interested in sound management of Virginia’s shorelines. The basis of this manual will be Hardaway and Byrne (1999) “Shoreline Management in Chesapeake Bay” and would consist of several components including: shoreline/physical processes/reach considerations; management strategies and goals; ecosystem functions; construction considerations and standards; permitting process; contact information of agencies, boards, and websites of additional information. This manual will include consideration of seaside mainland (but not the barrier islands which are almost exclusively in conservation ownership) shorelines as well.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Scott Hardaway, (804) 684-7277;

Project Status:

Project Completed; 10/01/08 - 9/30/09

Final Product Received:

Living Shoreline Design Guidelines for Shore Protection in Virginia’s Estuarine Environments - July 2010 (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

In December 2006, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Zone Management Program held a Living Shoreline Summit to promote the use of this shore management strategy. The Summit showed that there is great potential for living shorelines, but that more work is needed to ensure waterfront property owners are aware of this technique as early as possible in the decision process. Providing educational programs for consultants and contractors who work in this field to ensure that they are familiar and comfortable with living shoreline strategies is one way to achieve this. As a result, funding was provided to develop living shoreline design guidance for shore protection.

The guidelines are meant to address the need to educate consultants, contractors, and other professionals in the use of living shoreline strategies. It provides the necessary information to determine where they are appropriate and what is involved in their design and construction. The guidelines focus on the use of created marsh fringes but also touch on the use of beaches for shore protection. The guidelines were created for the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay estuarine system but may be applicable to other similar estuarine environments. Included in the report are design considerations for living shoreline strategies as well as case studies of different types of existing structures. These provide examples of successful projects in the Virginia-portion of the Chesapeake Bay.  Also included are design examples of typical structures. Recommendations made in Shoreline Studies Program’s Mathews County Shoreline Management Plan were used as a base for discussion. Site data was gathered for two sites where sills would be the preferred shore management strategy. Once designed, the sill cost was contrasted with the cost of a revetment, which often is the preferred method of shore protection. The Living Shorelines Design and Construction Guidance Manual can be found online at

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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