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For Immediate Release
June 15, 2021


Kirsten Howard, Resilience Program Coordinator
(603) 559-0020

NHDES Coastal Program and Partners Kick off the Great Bay Living Shorelines Project and Seek Applicants for Living Shoreline Design Teams

Portsmouth, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Coastal Program and its partners are excited to kick off the Great Bay Living Shorelines Project, which aims to create new living shoreline projects in the Great Bay Estuary to protect salt marsh ecosystems and coastal communities from erosion and sea-level rise. The project team is working with community stakeholders and landowners in Durham, Dover, Newmarket and Stratham to identify four new living shoreline project sites, develop conceptual designs for the chosen sites, provide practical living shoreline design learning opportunities for professionals, and share recommendations for future living shoreline projects in the Great Bay Estuary. One of the sites will be located at Wagon Hill Farm in Durham, continuing work to manage ongoing erosion along the popular public property situated on the tidally-influenced Oyster River.

In an effort to support a growing economy focused on nature-based shoreline management, project partners are currently soliciting applications from professionals looking to gain hands-on experience with living shoreline design. Living Shoreline Design Teams will learn about and design living shoreline projects at the selected Great Bay sites. Each team will be supported by experienced scientists and professionals, and stipends are available to support professional participation. Applications are due June 25, 2021. To learn more about applying to be on a Living Shoreline Design Team and to access the application form, visit the project website.

Science tells us that traditional “grey” shoreline erosion management techniques such as rip rap rock walls and vertical seawalls are harmful to natural ecosystems such as salt marshes, and in some cases, are more prone to failure than natural shorelines during storm events. Unfortunately, sea-level rise is making shoreline erosion worse in the Great Bay Estuary, causing added stress on salt marsh habitats that are critical for fish and bird species and for carbon storage. Erosion exacerbated by sea-level rise has resulted in increased demand for shoreline erosion management by landowners.

Across the country, nature-based living shoreline techniques are beginning to replace traditional “grey” shoreline stabilization as the preferred best practice for shoreline stabilization. A living shoreline is a management practice that provides erosion control benefits; protects, restores or enhances natural shoreline habitat; and maintains coastal processes through the strategic placement of plants, stone, sand fill and other structural organic materials, maintaining the continuity of the natural land-water interface while providing habitat value and protecting against coastal hazards.

The Great Bay Living Shoreline Project is a collaboration between the NHDES Coastal Program, the Town of Durham, the University of New Hampshire, the Great Bay Stewards, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership and is funded by a competitive National Coastal Resilience Fund grant administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. If you are interested in following the Great Bay Living Shoreline Project progress, you can sign up to receive project email updates using the Great Bay Living Shorelines Project Interest Form. Please contact NHDES Coastal Program Resilience Coordinator Kirsten Howard at (603) 559-0020 or with inquiries about the Great Bay Living Shoreline