Part II: A Layperson’s Consideration of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program’s Natural Shoreline Initiative: Potential Limitations

While the Natural Shoreline Initiative has the potential to have a significantly positive impact on the health of our coastal systems, it is not always the answer to the problem of continued destruction of natural shorelines. There are many beneficial results when a natural shoreline system is properly utilized in lieu of standard hard structures such as revetments and bulkheads. These systems provide bank and shoreline stabilization and have the added benefit of ecologically improving the intertidal and sub tidal zones, while maintaining a biological connection to the adjacent water body.1 While these systems can and should be used when possible, they are not appropriate for all situations. A number of factors need to be considered when determining when and where natural shorelines make sense to use. These factors include: level of wave … [Read more...]

Part I: A Layperson’s Overview of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program’s Natural Shoreline Initiative

The Natural Shoreline Initiative is a powerful tool that has the potential to stem the tide of destruction that has been wrought upon our natural shorelines in the name of development. The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (CZM) is a complex organization of government agencies that have a vested interest in coastal issues. While the program is headed up by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), there are members from every participating agency on the Coastal Policy Team.1 The Natural Shoreline Initiative is just one of many programs that the CZM manages. The overriding purpose of the Natural Shoreline Initiative is to protect and restore natural shoreline habitats and the many ecological and other benefits that they provide.2 These systems have been reduced over the years in part by the installation of hardened … [Read more...]

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