The Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project aims to develop science-based recommendations for shore zone management that preserve or enhance natural benefits while meeting engineering needs.
Along the Hudson River Estuary’s 300 miles of shoreline, communities are experiencing increased flooding from changing rainfall patterns and greater inundation from rising waters. Pressure is growing to alter shorelines to hold back the waters and control erosion, and community leaders, regulators, landowners, and funders are faced with important decisions about investments in shoreline infrastructure. These decisions will affect community waterfront use — and determine the future of vital near-shore river habitats.
The Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, with the involvement of many partners, launched the Sustainable Shorelines Project in 2008 to provide science-based information about the engineering, economic, and ecological tradeoffs among shoreline management options, given likely future conditions. New work is focusing on how aspects of structures that can be manipulated, such as the roughness of the substrate used, and the vegetative cover, to increase ecological benefits. The project will also increase our understanding of how physical forces are reshaping shorelines, develop innovative shoreline demonstration sites, and integrate project results into a decision support tool.
The project’s collaborative approach involves diverse stakeholders to identify priority information needs, respond to project findings, and shape products and tools.
Local government officials, shoreline experts and consultants, shoreline land owners, policy-makers, regulators, engineers, and others shape and guide the project by participating in advisory committees, focus groups, surveys, and case studies.
Project findings are being used to make decisions about community waterfronts, regulatory and land use policies, shoreline development and long-term plans that will allow important natural shore zone areas to exist into the future.
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