Living Shorelines: Managing Urban Coastlines Through Community Engagement and Nature Based Solutions

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Dane Lazarus, Sara Cuadra , Chris Enyart

Publication Date:

Los Angeles is home to a large, diverse population that lives, works, and plays along its iconic coast. This thriving urban landscape in southern California, USA, provides a unique opportunity to explore the nexus between living shorelines, coastal hazards, and community resilience planning. Growing recognition of the value of beaches as resilient functional ecosystems is leading a regional paradigm shift away from heavily urbanized shorelines, where daily grooming currently eliminates vegetation, wrack, trash, and protective sand dunes. For urban coastal communities, living shoreline projects provide an innovative, nature-based adaptation strategy to increase the resilience of the coastline to sea level rise and storm erosion. Restored beach ecosystems provide a soft buffer to erosion, expanded habitat for native species, and recreational and educational opportunities for local communities. Four scalable, regional case studies of nature-based coastal adaptation will be explored, including planning and permitting, public engagement and the incorporation of stakeholder feedback, methods of implementation, lessons learned, and the major outcomes from an ecological and topographic change perspective. Implementation methods to be discussed include the planting of native beach species, nearshore eelgrass bed restoration, invasive species removal, and the encouragement of dune growth via sand fencing and biomimicry staking. Efforts to foster community engagement via outreach, interpretive signage, and volunteer and internship work will also be discussed. These projects serve as demonstrations of the living shoreline concept in action, providing long-term data to inform future efforts alongside the direct benefits to the ecosystem, infrastructure, and surrounding communities.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program