Because of the many problems with flood and erosion control structures, there has been a shift in recent years toward non-structural shore stabilization techniques. Non-structural shore protection measures generally seek to enhance the natural ability of shorelines to absorb and dissipate storm energy without interfering with natural beach, dune, and bank processes.
Florida Living Shoreline Program
For a general overview of many techniques, see the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Living Shoreline website, and NOAA’s Living Shoreline Implementation site.
For funding for related projects, contact the US Fish And Wildlife Service:
- Panama City Field Office (850) 769-0552
- Jacksonville Field Office (904) 232-2580
- South Florida Ecosystem Field Office – Vero Beach (562) 3909
You can also download a PDF about the program here, or read what similar things Mississippi and Alabama are doing on the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium’s Living Shorelines page.
Creating or restoring wetlands
One of the most common ways of doing this is through wetland restoration and creation. For a case-study of how wetlands have been used in the Florida panhandle, see Conserving Coastal Wetlands and Mitigation Hazards (note the menu of pages in the right sidebar), which discusses how the area uses wetlands to help protect its communities and promote biodiversity.
Some additional non-structural shore protection techniques to consider include:
- Renourishing beaches and dunes. Florida DEP has written Recommended Florida Native Beach and Dune Plants for Beachfront Properties and Dune Restoration (PDF). Also see the NOAA’s State, Territory, and Commonwealth Beach Nourishment Programs guidance (PDF, 352KB) for information on Florida’s program and policies.
- Stabilizing dunes with fences and vegetation.
Florida DEP has guidance on the different types of sand fences and how to properly construct them (PDF). Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant offers guidance on shoreline stabilization policies for Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida with their publication Focus On: Living Shorelines (PDF, 620KB).
- Protecting, nourishing, or constructing dunes.
- Re-vegetating/stabilizing shorelines and/or riparian (river) corridors with native plants.
- Prohibiting or more stringently restricting the infill of wetlands.
* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS).For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.
Notes from the folks at CRS:
“CRS credits programs that maintain measures that protect buildings from coastal flooding or erosion. These include dune and mangrove preservation, bluff stabilization, and beach nourishment programs.”