We often receive requests for information about what to do about shore erosion. This post lists a variety of helpful resources to aid property owners in managing erosion. The list includes various solutions, as well as methods to help decide which of those solutions is best for your property. Many of these resources deal specifically with shorefront erosion, but a few provide strategies and tips for general property preservation.
Why is my property eroding? What can I do to fix it?
These resources provide a general overview of the coastal erosion problem and different types of solutions. Some of these resources describe “Living shorelines”– stabilized sections of shorefront made of natural materials (sand, rock, plants). Living Shorelines are not applicable to all situations, but when you can use them, they are often cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and less likely to create adverse impacts on neighboring properties.
- What is Coastal Erosion? Why is it happening? – This page is a great starting place for people who want to learn more. You will learn why the shoreline is eroding and the damage it is causing.
- Coastal Erosion Solutions – Here is a great explanation and overview of coastal erosion solutions, which can be categorized as either Hard armor or Soft armor. This resource provides a good understanding of key concepts and options when considering how to protect your property.
- Understanding Living Shorelines – This document explains living shorelines: what they are, where they can be used, benefits, pricing, etc. A good place to start!
- Living Shoreline – This is a short PDF detailing different ways to create living shorelines. It lists the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions and is a good tool for understanding the different options available.
Which Solution is best for me? How do I begin?
This section of resources is for coastal property owners who are vulnerable to erosion. While the list above explains the problem and various solutions, this list will help you decide on the best solution for your property and how you might begin the process.
- Coastal Property Owner’s Guide – The guide is a downloadable PDF created by the Maine Geological Survey. Its purpose is to educate coastal property owners on protecting and caring for their land. The text gives a series of general guidelines and then focuses on advice for different kinds of shorelines and potential hazards.
- Coastal Bluff Instability Assessment Form – This form allows property owners to evaluate the instability of their property. It focuses on factors such as land development, drainage, rainfall, vegetation density, soil, etc., to determine an erosion-risk point total. There are twelve risk-related questions. Each question on the form has three answers for different point values: good (one point), fair (two points), and poor (three points). After completing the questions, calculate your point total. There is a twelve point minimum (good) and thirty-six point maximum (bad). The higher the number, the higher the risk of erosion.
- Living Shorelines Decision Support Tool – The Maine Geological Survey has developed this mapping tool to evaluate the potential suitability of a living shoreline approach to combat coastal erosion. Currently, the data reaches from Cape Elizabeth to Spruce Point in Gouldsboro, but not east of that. The Maine Geological Survey plans to extend the map to the rest of the state next year. Even in its incomplete form, it will give an idea of where living shorelines are likely to work and where they probably won’t.. The viewer offers a color-coded system to display the suitability of a potential living shoreline solution in 200 ft intervals (50ft in Casco Bay). Factors include dominant wind directions, depth of water near shore, shoreline type, the slope of the shoreline, etc. Read more details and FAQs here.
- Coastal Bluff Decision Tree – The PDF is a “choose your path” evaluation tool. It helps coastal property owners to consider if armoring their shoreline is the best solution and how their ideas might be improved.
- Coastal Bluff Planting Guide – This guide aids coastal property owners in determining which plant species will be most helpful in creating a living shoreline for their location. The process begins with a short point-system evaluation by the property owner to see if a living shoreline is a good option for the location. It includes detailed information – with pictures – of plants that can help stabilize various kinds of shorelines.
- Beach and Dune Management – This PDF is a smaller download, detailing only solutions to erosion of sandy areas. It uses pictures and text to give advice on several issues, from driftwood and seaweed management to proper methods for beach growth and resilience.
- Erosion Management & Field Guide for Contractors, Designers and Engineers – On this page, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection provides two PDFs on erosion sediment management. The first PDF is written for Contractors and explains the building process behind preserving land conditions. The second PDF is similar to the first, but is written to provide more info on the design aspect of erosion management.
Later this year, Gouldsboro Shore will hold an erosion workshop where experts will talk about how to deal with erosion. Once we finalize workshop plans, we will post them on this website.