Adapting to a Changing Coastline Using Best Practices and Following the Rules

Coastal Erosion Control Technology – the Latest

Peter Hanrahan, E J Prescott, Inc.
This presentation will be developed to bring conference participants up to date on coastal erosion control products and techniques that are successfully being employed all around the world. As sea levels rise and coastal storms intensify, the demand has never been higher for solutions to tough coastal erosion control problems. With an eye on the future, this session will attempt to connect attendees with innovative solutions and an ever-expanding toolbox.

Adaptive Management for Coastal Erosion

Sue Schaller, Bar Mills Ecological
Frontal beaches can be harsh and dynamic environments, and sand dune systems provide a range of ecological services that are often not fully understood or recognized. Healthy dune systems can act as a dike against flooding, and reduce the energy of storm waves during overwash events. In fair weather they provide privacy buffers, wildlife habitat, and help promote shorefront communities as a destination.

In 2013, some 30+ properties on Saco Bay lost 12-14 feet of frontal dune. A number of methods were tested and adapted in an effort to hold the current dune edge. These included restoring a sloped dune front to allow wave run-up, mulching with seaweed, and replanting. Several large sites were fully successful while one section of shoreline experienced mixed results. Efforts continue to find cost-effective mitigation techniques for property owners. These include passive sand trapping, simple fencing, elevating walkways, removal of non-native invasive species, and restoring the community of native dune vegetation. In combination, these actions increase the ability of dune vegetation to be self-maintaining.

With moderate support and maintenance, dune systems can provide higher levels of protection to individual properties and shorefront communities. Evaluating dunes as a form of live infrastructure, and then providing regular maintenance, offers the best option for optimizing the long term protective values this resource can provide.

Dune Restoration - Community-based Approaches

Alyson Eberhardt, NH Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension
Sand dunes provide a natural buffer from storm events, protect the coastline against flooding and erosion associated with storms, and maintain beaches. However, the sand dunes of the Great Marsh Complex (MA and NH) have been impacted by development and disturbance over the past two centuries. Given increases in the frequency and severity of storms, restoring dunes where they have been destroyed or degraded is a critical shoreline management practice for increasing coastal resiliency. NH Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension and UNH are working in partnership with state and municipal decision makers, local schools and community members to restore dunes that have been destabilized in NH and MA. The primary goals of our efforts are to

  1. build coastal resilience to climate change and enhance wildlife habitat through sand dune restoration,
  2. evaluate an experimental approach to increasing resilience by planting a diversity of plant species, and
  3. engage local citizens in restoration and outreach efforts in order to create a network of informed citizens and landowners.
This presentation will provide an overview of the current dune restoration work, including successes and challenges, as well as our efforts to enable landowners to continue this work beyond the project period.

Maine’s Coastal Sand Dune Rules

Marybeth Richardson, Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection
This presentation will provide a general overview of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Sand Dune Rules, and will include information specifically focused on how dune construction and erosion management activities are regulated by the Rules.

Permitting at the Beach

William Walsh, Walsh Engineering Inc.
Permitting and constructing projects along the Maine beaches provides significant challenges and opportunities. There are various layers of environmental permits and requirements that are needed to permit construction within the Dune that include Maine DEP sand dune, Local site plan permits, Shoreland zone requirements, and the impending FEMA flood zone requirements. The presentation will focus on a case study of a project in a regulated Sand Dune system.