Shoreline Restoration: ‘Protecting Community, Conserving the Coast’


Our friends at WSP tell us about a project that uses nature-based solutions to stabilize the shoreline in Apalachicola Bay, Florida USA, and how it fits in with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This article originally appeared on the WSP website, many thanks to them for permission to repost the article here.

Nature-based solutions involve the use of natural habitats, like marsh grasses or oyster reefs, in place of – or to complement – traditional hardened structures, such as concrete seawalls.

This approach is increasingly valued not only for its effectiveness in coastal defense – wave attenuation, shoreline stabilization, floodwater storage – but also in providing the added natural benefits of water filtration, carbon sequestration and habitat enhancement for fish and wildlife.

As living elements of project designs, nature-based solutions are highly adaptable to changing environmental conditions that may occur as a result of climate change. As such, nature-based solutions are key components of coastal resilience, and often outperform their traditional hardened counterparts.

The public and private sectors alike are beginning to understand the potential of multi-benefit solutions like green infrastructure to combat the impacts of a changing climate. Further, growing demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment has private clients taking a fresh look at how this approach can benefit their own land. Market pressure further encourages leveraging real estate assets into ESG assets.

This trend is a great win for the United Nation (UN) Decade on Ecosystem Restoration initiative, as more corporations value the benefits of investing in restoration to improve their ESG ratings.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems to fight the climate crisis from 2021-2030, targeting widespread engagement with governments, UN agencies, international non-government organizations, academia and large corporations. WSP USA is a key participant in the initiative.

Coastal road erosion
The Franklin-98 project will use nature-based solutions to help stabilize areas of shoreline along Highway 98 damaged by erosion. Image: ©WSP USA