An example of a waterway with natural shoreline protection.
You may have found yourself wondering, “Do I have to replace my shoreline protection again?” Since shorelines are naturally dynamic and will gradually move, any investment made on a protection wall will not last for a long time.
In our last article, we mentioned that there are two different types of adequate shoreline protection. Besides hardened infrastructure, which we discussed previously, another type of effective shoreline protection is called ecosystem-based adaptation. This is also sometimes known as nature-based solutions, living shorelines or green infrastructure. These are essentially just different ways of explaining the process of using the environment and natural vegetation as a buffer to wave action and other negative impacts of severe weather. It often involves restoration of the shoreline, where a more natural environment can also combine rocks or other natural elements, and can include the use of native ground vegetation, shrubs or trees, and be flexible in its design.
So which type–hardened or natural–is best? As with anything, it depends on the specific circumstance. Hybrid solutions can also be effective in certain instances as they combine the best attributes of both protection models. The Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations has a useful resource for managing waterfront property, if you want to do some further research. View the website here: https://foca.on.ca/managing-your-waterfront-property-in-a-changing-climate/
You can also learn more by joining one of our focus groups, attending one of our events, or by contacting a MEOPAR project member to explore options further.