Understanding Coastal Erosion
Coastlines are dynamic ecosystems that transform naturally through the processes of erosion, sediment transport and deposition. Erosion describes sediment movement caused by the forces of water and wind. It’s a natural and necessary process that maintains ecosystems like beaches, salt marshes and estuaries, but also changes your coastal landscape.
A Living Shoreline
Erosion can be tempered. A living shoreline uses nature’s own materials, advanced principles of science and ecosystem restoration expertise to restore vegetation and stabilize coastal slopes. Once established, a living shoreline will mitigate erosion, provide natural habitats, self-strengthen and endure. Living shorelines improve the health of the coastal ecosystem at the same time they protect your shoreline property.
Living Shorelines are a soft management approach that uses living plants and biomass to protect coastlines from erosive environmental forces. This approach also improves the health of our coastlines by helping to stabilize coastal ecosystems and creating habitat for native species.
Nova Scotian Shorelines
As president of Helping Nature Heal (HNH), Rosmarie has developed and practiced various Living Shoreline techniques specifically adapted for Nova Scotia’s climate and soils and the challenges associated with coastal erosion in the North Atlantic Ocean. Over the last thirteen years Rosmarie and her team at HNH have installed and managed many Living Shorelines on the Northumberland Strait and the South Shore of Nova Scotia with much success.
HNH works exclusively above the high water mark using native species and locally sourced biomass (hay, logs and brush) to help stabilize these delicate ecosystems. Working above the high water mark allows for management of land based erosive forces that contribute to coastal erosion such as overland flow, in addition to stabilizing soil exposed to wind and wave action.
Living Shoreline methods work to manage erosion on their own and can also be used in combination with rock walls and other engineered structures.
Helping Nature Heal Restoration services include
- Living Shoreline design, installation and maintenance
- Ecosystem consultation, design and creation
- Environmental assessments
- Ecosystem stewardship (post-storm restoration,
revolving organic gardens, forest trail management