The next Living Shorelines Act

A newly installed living shoreline in Galveston Bay, Texas.

Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06) introduced the Living Shorelines Act to Congress this past week which was reminiscent of legislation he put forward in late 2017 on the same topic. This time the bill includes robust funding that would authorize nearly $50 million a year for NOAA to assist with the creation of living shorelines.

Living shorelines serve as a cost-efficient and extremely effective alternative to hardening our nation’s shorelines with bulkheads and sea walls. Instead of using inorganic materials like concrete, living shorelines incorporate natural materials like marsh plants, oysters, and dredged material to help restore damaged or destroyed coastal habitats. Living shorelines can better protect coastal communities in the face of extreme weather events and nuisance flooding alike. They also help prevent erosion and can improve water quality, providing numerous benefits to coastal communities.

The current proposed legislation prioritizes areas where a federal disaster has been declared in the past ten years and areas that have a history of flooding.

Rep. Pallone has an impressive record of advocating for coastal restoration; his bill is cosponsored by 11 fellow democrats and will next be sent to committee for consideration.

Jeff Benoit, president of Restore America’s Estuaries, commented on the bill saying, “The Living Shorelines bill provides a real opportunity to advance the use of this technique to create healthy and productive estuaries.”

The Living Shorelines Act (H.R. 3115) has companion legislation (S-1730) in the Senate that is being introduced by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT). Senate co-sponsors include Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Senators Blumenthal (D-CT), Menendez (D-NJ), Booker (D-NJ), Wyden (D-OR), and Merkley (D-OR).

Learn more about living shorelines on our website, and check out the Living Shorelines Academy to gain practical knowledge about this emerging technique.

Alden Lundy is a Policy Intern with Restore America’s Estuaries.

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