HSI Services, Inc. has 20+ years of experience in water management

Shoreline Stabilization Techniques for Managing Erosion

Our shorelines are very important, providing habitats for fish and wildlife, and cleans stormwater runoff before it gets to the water supply. Shoreline erosion is a natural process which takes place on all bodies of water, such as lakes, streams, oceans, and rivers. When erosion becomes too much, it can harm the water quality, ecosystem, and even cause property loss. When this happens, shoreline restoration techniques need to be implemented to help halt the erosion of the natural shoreline.

Shoreline Stabilization Techniques

To preserve shoreline protection and natural resources, erosion control becomes necessary. Shoreline erosion can progress too rapidly. Here are the best ways to stabilize the shoreline and help slow down the rate of erosion. Click To Tweet

  1. Imitate Nature
  2. Bulkheads & Retaining Walls
  3. Buffer Zones
  4. Erosion Matting
  5. Stone & Vegetative Rip Rap

1) Imitate Nature

In its natural state, the shoreline is able to perfectly protect itself against erosion. Imitating nature is the perfect way to help prevent erosion. Use native vegetation around the shoreline to help build structural integrity and prevent the land from breaking apart. The deep roots of these plants help protect the land from heavy rainfall and winds.

2) Bulkheads & Retaining Walls

Bulkheads and retaining walls have been used with the intention of preventing erosion, but it has been found that these methods end up increasing erosion eventually. From an environmental standpoint, retaining walls are the most expensive and the most environmentally harmful option there is. If you have a retaining wall or bulkhead currently set up, it would be wise to remove it and work on a more natural shoreline stabilization method.

3) Buffer Zones

Buffer zones have been found to be effective in slowing down shoreline erosion. A buffer zone is a stip of vegetation at the water’s edge that typically extends between 50 and 100 feet. Native vegetation should start returning to this area, or you can supplement grass and native species with deep roots and woody vegetation to help speed up the process.

4) Erosion Matting

With the advances in technology, there are now biodegradable products on the market to help get control of exposed shorelines. Erosion control matting is a three-dimensional geotextile fabric that is laid down on the shoreline. Spread a layer of seeds under the mat, then once the matting is laid down, spread ¾ an inch of soil on top and then spread seeds over the mat, as well.

5) Stone & Vegetation Rip Rap

This particular method of shoreline stabilization should only be used if other, more natural methods have not worked. This technique needs a stable underlying soil base and can be difficult to put in place. The basic idea is to lay the rip rap (hard quarry stones, or a combination of live vegetation and stones) in two layers. This technique allows for the shoreline to be stabilized while still providing some habitat for wildlife.

Restoring Shoreline Erosion

As you see, there are numerous options for helping prevent shoreline erosion. When it comes time to performing restoration techniques, be sure you are using the best tools for the job. An Aqua-Barrier® Inflatable Cofferdam will allow you to create a temporary dam in order to get a dry workspace to begin the shoreline stabilization projects, without having to worry about flooding surrounding areas.

Pro Tip: Shoreline stabilization projects that call for dewatering can cause flooding to surrounding areas. Mitigate the risks with an Aqua-Barrier® Inflatable Cofferdam.

Contact us to learn more shoreline stabilization techniques to help manage erosion.