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“It’s Alive.” Cash Infusion Brings Life to Chesapeake Bay Shorelines

PHOTO: Example of a living shoreline. Courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
PHOTO: Example of a living shoreline. Courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
August 30, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Prettier is better - and worth more than $800,000. That's how much grant money is being unveiled today to promote the understanding and installation of "living shorelines" throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Maryland and Virginia.

Eric Schwaab is acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He will be at the event today, explaining the ecological benefits of installing trees, grasses and shrubs to prevent erosion along rivers and streams.

"They provide immensely greater habitat benefits for fish and shellfish - and even turtles, accessing important feeding and nursery and nesting areas."

Today is also "show-and-tell time" for three neighboring homeowners in Annapolis. The event is being held at the site of their recent demonstration project, which replaced bulkheads with greenery.

Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, says these kinds of projects tend to be popular.

"Individuals are starting to see those examples, get excited about them, realize that they can do it, too. Landowners can work together to get these natural habitats put in as erosion protection, instead of bulkheads."

Eric Schwaab says there's a good-neighbor aspect to consider with living shorelines, too.

"One of the problems you see sometimes with hardened shorelines is that they simply deflect the energy onto neighboring properties, increasing erosion adjacent to the bulkhead."

The grants are the largest amounts ever awarded for this kind of shoreline restoration. The Chesapeake Bay Trust, NOAA, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of the Environment are part of the grant project.

The event is at 10 a.m. at 517 Horn Point Dr., Annapolis.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD