Building Resiliency Along Maine’s Bluff Coast

The District recently completed a project aimed to help coastal landowners, community organizations and boards, municipal officials, and others manage coastal shorelines. Working with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Coastal Program (MCP) and the Maine Geological Survey (MGS), the District developed tools to Build Resiliency Along Maine’s Bluff Coast. Much of the work done through this project focused on developing a way to evaluate coastal shorelines to determine the best way to stop erosion, including whether the natural approach of a “living shoreline” can be used.

The following documents were developed through this project:

  • Shoreline Management Assessment (SMA)
    Helps determine if a “living shoreline” (mimicking natural systems by incorporating plants and other natural materials) or “hard armoring” (using elements like rock-filled wire baskets or concrete) can be used to prevent erosion
  • Instability Assessment Rating Form
    Helps determine bluff stability
  • SMA Decision Tree Flowchart
    Guides an evaluator through the SMA process by suggesting questions that should be asked as data is reviewed and restoration methods considered.
  • Coastal Planting Guide
    Provides information supporting a “living shoreline” approach to bluff stabilization. The guide is intended for use specifically on Maine’s bluff coastline, which makes up about 38% of the State’s coast. This version of the Coastal Planting Guide categorizes plants by type (ex: herbaceous low shrubs vs. woody tall trees) but future versions may be organized by habitat type and may incorporate additional plant species.  This Guide has been delivered in such a way that it can be printed as a center-stapled booklet or viewed as a PDF.
  • Technical Notes
    Serves as an executive summary of the overall SMA process and describes how each of the project documents are used in more detail.
  • Case Studies describing Shoreline Management Assessments performed by the District and MGS staff in three locations:

For more information about the Build Resiliency Along Maine’s Bluff Coast project, or any of the tools described above, please contact the Maine Geological Survey.

This work was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Zone Management Cooperative Agreement #NA14NOS4190047 pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 as amended.