A "Softer" Approach to Managing Coastal Erosion in Nova Scotia
Shorelines in Nova Scotia are often stabilized with hardened structures such as seawalls and bulkheads. Ironically, these structures often accelerate coastal erosion, cut off sediment supply and access, remove the transition zone between land and ocean and provide little habitat for intertidal species. The Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (and many others across Nova Scotia) are working to implement a more natural bank bank stabilization technique called "living shorelines." Living Shorelines are “softer” approaches to bankside stabilization that mimic aspects of natural shorelines to improve the overall health of the ecosystem. There are three main principles of living shorelines which include: (1) leave a vegetated buffer; (2) cover exposed soils; and (3) plant directly on slope. These types of approaches have been shown to slow down rates of erosion and create more resilient shorelines that are able to withstand waves and storms. These projects also promote natural shoreline processes such as improving water quality, allowing for natural sediment transport, and enhancing coastal and aquatic habitats.