Rhode Island's First Living Shoreline

The Conservancy tests a more natural approach to protecting the shoreline in the face of sea level rise and erosion.

Click here to learn more about this innovative solution to shoreline erosion.

Coir logs arrive for the living shoreline installation along 500 feet of eroding marshland at Narrow River, part of the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge network in Narragansett, RI.

Coir logs are loaded onto a boat to be moved to one of two installation sites. The biodegradable logs are made of coconut fiber and will be placed just below the water line to retain sediment.

Staff from the Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management unload bags of oyster shell from a boat to shore for installation.

Workers install the coir logs along the shoreline to help protect it. The Chafee Refuge’s Narrow River has lost more than 15% of its marsh habitat.

Staff secure the coir logs with stakes and twine. Living shoreline was installed at two sites, one with more wave action than the other, to help evaluate the performance of the shoreline under different conditions.

Bagged oyster shell is installed just seaward of the coir logs. The shell will provide a surface for new oysters to settle, encouraging the growth of a new reef that will provide additional shoreline protection.

Conservancy science technician Anna Gerber-Williams takes a break from the installation work. Conservancy scientists and partners will monitor the performance of the shoreline and use it as a model for future projects.

If successful, the living shoreline will trap sediment and attract oysters, both of which will absorb the energy of waves, preventing further erosion and protecting and restoring the coastal marshlands. Learn more.


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