Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date





This analysis uses data from a survey of shoreline property owners combined with data on shoreline modification permits to examine whether and how property owners modify their estuarine shorelines. We find that shoreline armoring is very popular among property owners that choose to modify their shoreline. While living shorelines are less common, applications for them are increasing both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of all shoreline modification requests. A number of different issues factor into the shoreline modification decision including effectiveness, cost, aesthetics, and property values. More valuable parcels are more likely to be modified, as are parcels that have been owned longer. Parcels with a high percentage of natural cover or agricultural use are less likely to be modified. Parcels with primary structures that are closer to the shoreline are more likely to have some sort of armoring. Regardless of their choice of shoreline modification, almost all survey respondents believe that their choices have had a neutral or positive impact on erosion and the health of the Chesapeake Bay.


doi: 10.1007/s13157-020-01358-6

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Shoreline management, Shoreline armoring, Living shorelines, Erosion, Survey, Property owners

Publication Statement

Accepted manuscript version.

Guthrie_Wetlands2020_supp.pdf (325 kB)
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