Construction and development along the shoreline impacts the coastal environment. NOAA works to minimize effects to natural resources by providing guidance and consultation during the permitting process. NOAA employs research on coastal issues and existing programs that protect land and water resources, endangered species, essential fish habitat, and marine mammals. The relevant NOAA mandates and programs most closely related to living shorelines include the following.
Endangered Species Protection
NOAA has jurisdiction over 125 endangered and threatened marine species, some of which live in coastal habitats and need to be considered when designing living shorelines.
Essential Fish Habitat Protection
NOAA provides consultations on how to limit the effects of shoreline activities to Essential Fish Habitat, which is designated for commercially managed species. Read an example of how an Essential Fish Habitat consultation balanced seagrass meadow conservation and shoreline stability in Charles County, Maryland. Also read an example of how NOAA and the Army are working together to protect shorelines and habitat at a dredge material management area.
Marine Mammal Protection
Living shorelines projects must consider the potential for incidental take and harassment of marine mammals.
National Coastal Zone Management Program
NOAA partners with coastal and Great Lakes states and territories to protect, restore, and responsibly develop our nation’s coastal communities. Many state coastal management programs are promoting softer shoreline-stabilization methods–such as living shorelines–as alternatives to hard structures. Through partnerships, NOAA works with state coastal management programs, to revise state policies and permitting processes, as appropriate, to facilitate the use of living shorelines.
National Marine Sanctuaries Program
If a shoreline project is located within one of the National Marine Sanctuaries with land-water interfaces, the National Marine Sanctuary has a role in determining what regulations apply to shoreline stabilization projects.