Visualizing Living Shoreline Aesthetics

The Maryland Living Shorelines Protection Act is an effort to reduce erosion, promote natural processes, and enhance natural habitat. The law encourages people to forego hard structures such as seawalls and instead adopt “living shorelines.” Living shorelines are typically composed of marsh plantings combined with sills, groin fields, or breakwaters.

With some people concerned about the aesthetics of this approach, personnel from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources provided a visual answer using CanVis—NOAA Office for Coastal Management’s visualization software—to illustrate the likely visual impacts on specific Maryland properties. People came away from the presentations feeling reassured and better informed. CanVis visualizations have become an important part of the agency’s living shorelines workshops. The state also included sample living shoreline visualizations using this free NOAA software when applying for various shoreline restoration grants. (2016)

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Partners: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agroforestry Center