Northeast
Wharton Point in Brunswick, pictured, and Maquoit Bay Conservation Lands, were two of three sites chosen for a five-year project studying the impact of living shorelines on erosion.

ME - Brunswick is using oyster shells to combat coastal erosion

Wharton Point and the Maquoit Bay Conservation Lands are two of three Maine sites in a New-England wide effort funded by $1.5 million in grants.

BRUNSWICK — Two Brunswick sites have been selected as test locations for a five year, $1.5 million, New England-wide living shoreline study exploring the impact of using natural materials such as oyster shells and fallen trees to mitigate the impacts of erosion in coastal bluffs and protecting Maine’s dynamic coastal ecosystems.

According to the Maine Geological Survey, a living shoreline is a relatively broad term that encompasses a range of shoreline stabilization techniques, in which the shoreline has a footprint made up mostly of native material, incorporates vegetation or other living “soft” elements and reduces erosion while providing habitat value and enhancing coastal resilience.

Historically, Maine’s experience with living shorelines has been related to stream restoration activities, though there has been some work along the coast with dune restoration, construction and beach nourishment using dredged materials.

But Maine’s sandy coast actually only accounts for about 2% of the state’s shoreline, and while Maine is often thought of as a rocky coast, more than 40% is erodible bluffs and mudflats, according to Peter Slovinsky, a marine geologist with the Maine Geological Surv

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