Living Shorelines Grants & Technical Assistance Program

The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey is offering grants and technical assistance to help communities overcome barriers to implementing living shorelines.

In Spring 2018, the New Jersey Chapter of the Nature Conservancy kicked off a program to assist communities in developing and implementing living shorelines as a nature-based solution to coastal erosion, and other coastal hazards. Living Shorelines are defined as shoreline stabilization techniques that incorporate native vegetation and natural materials to protect coastlines from coastal hazards, while also providing benefits to plants and wildlife.

An living reef breakwater protects a TNC preserve from erosion while restoring oyster habitat in Gandy’s Beach, NJ. Photo Credit: Steve Jacobus, NJDEP


The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey has announced the most recent round of funding recipients through its Living Shoreline Grants Program, which provides capital for design, permitting or construction of nature-based community resilience projects.

Living shorelines are alternatives to bulkheads and other man-made structures. They stabilize coastal areas using natural materials such as native shellfish reefs, fiber coir logs, stone sills and vegetation. Their benefits are many: protecting communities from erosion, flooding and other challenges; providing important habitat for fish and wildlife; and offering recreation opportunities and aesthetic beauty for people to enjoy.

Potential grantees attended a workshop in April, discussing project ideas and getting feedback from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, United States Army Corps of Engineers and United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Nature Conservancy received eighteen proposals by the May 2018 deadline, and awarded $75,000 in funding to projects in four communities:

Ship Bottom—Shore Avenue Park

The Nature Conservancy is providing $35,000 to the town of Ship Bottom, on Long Beach Island, to build a hybrid living shoreline incorporating low crested rock sills and restoration of the inter-tidal marsh along nearly 1000 linear feet of shoreline. The Shore Avenue Park living shoreline will be a great demonstration project for coastal communities interested in designing and building living shorelines in the Barnegat Bay watershed.

Beach Haven—Mordecai Island

The Nature Conservancy is providing $20,000 to Mordecai Land Trust for construction to expand the size and scope of an existing oyster castle breakwater that helps protect Mordecai Island—a 45-acre habitat of salt marsh, mud flats and shrubs just offshore in Beach Haven, on Long Beach Island—from erosion.

Waretown—Lighthouse Center

The Nature Conservancy is providing $10,000 to the Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education in Waretown, for design and construction of a hybrid living shoreline using breakwaters to combat accelerating erosion along the shoreline. The site, which encompasses 194 acres of maritime forest, mudflats, lagoons, fields and salt marshes, is one of the last undeveloped waterfront tracts on the Barnegat Bay.

Red Bank—Private Landowner

A private landowner in Red Bank is receiving $10,000 for design of a living shoreline that would replace a deteriorating bulkhead on the Navesink River with a marsh sill breakwater and shoreline restoration using marsh and upland vegetation. The project, sponsored by United States Fish and Wildlife Service, has the potential to be a model for other private landowners in New Jersey to consider living shorelines instead of bulkheads.


Webinars & Workshops


Webinar: Overview of Grant Program and Living Shoreline Planning Tools

We recently hosted an informational webinar on the program on March 15th, 2018. Topics covered included the Invitation for Proposals application process, as well as tools and resources for planning a living shoreline project in your area. Click here to view the webinar.

Webinar: Developing a Conceptual Design for a Living Shoreline Project

In July 2018 TNC-NJ along with our partners at Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted a webinar on how to develop a conceptual design for a living shoreline project. Conceptual designs can be helpful early on in the project initiation phase, to get feedback from stakeholders, obtain funding, and work with engineers to develop a final design. This webinar features presentations from Jon Miller (Stevens Institute of Technology) and Josh Moody (Partnership for the Delaware Estuary), both of whom have extensive experience with living shorelines in New Jersey. You can view a recording of the webinar here.

In-Person Workshop: Building With Nature: A Workshop to Explore Oyster Reef and Marsh Sill Living Shoreline Techniques

On Thursday October 18th at 9 AM our friends at Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve in Tuckerton, NJ will be hosting a 1/2 day workshop to take a deeper dive on 2 living shoreline techniques, oyster reefs and marsh sills. This workshop will feature lessons learned from practitioners who’ve implemented living shoreline projects on the ground in New Jersey. We’ll also have representatives from the NJDEP on hand to talk about some of the regulations around doing these projects. You can register for the workshop HERE.


9:00am- Check in/Refreshments

9:30am – Welcome and background

9:45am – Oyster Reefs as Living Shorelines

  • Dave Bushek, Rutgers University – Ecological Considerations of Utilizing Oyster Reefs for Restoration
  • Meredith Comi, NY/NJ Baykeeper –Oyster Reefs’ Role in Natural Restoration of Shorelines
  • Jim Dugan, Mordecai Land Trust – Case Study of Oyster Reefs at Mordecai Island

10:45am – Break

11:00 – Marsh Sill as Living Shorelines

  • Mark Jaworski, Engineer at CH2M Hill

12:00pm – Regulations Associated with these Techniques

  • Lindsey Davis, NJ DEP Land Use Regulations

12:30pm  – Conclusion


Project Planning Tools and Resources

The Restoration Explorer: Living Shorelines App: is a high level screening tool that can help you decide what type of living shoreline technique may be appropriate for a given stretch of shoreline.

The Stevens Institute of Technology Living Shoreline Engineering Guidelines can provide planners and engineers with guidance on technical and ecological parameters that can help with appropriate siting and design of living shoreline projects.

The Community Resource Guide for Planning Living Shorelines contains helpful information on project development, including budget templates for living shorelines.

The Procurement Guide for Nature-based Solutions contains sample RFP language to help communities contract and solicit expert input for implementing living shoreline projects.

A recent White Paper: Nature Based Solutions for Coastal Highway Resilience from the Federal Highway Administration contains case studies as well as a literature review on design performance of nature-based solutions, including living shorelines.

Installation of a bio-log living shore in Maurice River, NJ. Bio-logs are used to stabilize shorelines or stream banks and prevent further erosion. Once vegetation has taken over (either planted or naturally recruited) a living shoreline will be achieved.

Installation of a bio-log living shore in Maurice River, NJ. Bio-logs are used to stabilize shorelines or stream banks. Once vegetation has taken over (either planted or naturally recruited) a living shoreline will be achieved. (Photo credit: Mike Shanahan)

For any additional questions on the program please contact Patty Doerr, Director of Coastal and Marine Programs.

This program has been supported through a grant from the Climate Resilience Fund.