Current Understanding of the Effectiveness of Nonstructural and Marsh Sill Approaches
A panel session at the Living Shorelines Summit in Williamsburg, Virginia was dedicated to the current understanding of the effectiveness of nonstructural erosion protection methods and marsh sills. Four panelists described their professional experience with either design and construction or monitoring of projects in tidal waters of Maryland and Virginia, including marsh edge stabilization (marsh toe revetments), marsh sills with sand fill, and planted marshes. Their collective experience revealed that planted tidal marshes and supporting structures can be effective alternatives to revetments and bulkheads. Site-specific engineering is required to ensure they provide functional ecological benefits, particularly in medium and high energy settings. Another important factor for effective projects is landowner acceptance of dynamic shoreline conditions and the level of protection provided. Additional project tracking and research is needed to further investigate positive and adverse effects of created tidal marshes and supporting structures.