Center for Inland Bays Awarded Grant for Living Shorelines on the Inland Bays

Rehoboth Beach – The Delaware Center for Inland Bays, in partnership with Sussex Conservation District, announced receipt of a $42,000 planning grant to evaluate potential sites for ‘living shoreline’ demonstration projects and develop concept designs for selected sites. It is an important milestone in a multi-year initiative to advance the use of ‘living shorelines’ management techniques for shoreline stabilization on the Inland Bays.

The goal of the demonstration projects is to improve water quality through shoreline stabilization, to protect and restore shoreline habitats, and to provide public education and shoreline contractor training opportunities.  The grant is a Surface Water Matching Planning Grant from the Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council through the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

As communities have developed around the Inland Bays, much of the shoreline has been ‘hardened’ with stone rip-rap or bulkheads.  While these can be effective in halting erosion, they take a big toll on bay life and alter the natural shoreline.  These ‘hardened shorelines’ eliminate natural sandy beach and marsh that serve as vital feeding and nursery areas for many species, and they can amplify and reflect wave energy causing erosion on nearby shores.

A living shoreline is a method of stabilizing the shoreline to protect against erosion while preserving natural functions and natural beauty.  Living shorelines can protect and restore beaches, marshes, and shallow water areas for the rich diversity of life that live at the edges of creeks and bays.

The design for a living shoreline is determined by the unique aspects of the site and the amount of wave and wind energy impacting it.  Projects typically include the use of stone sills, oyster castles or bagged oyster shell to create a breakwater to slow wave energy; fiber logs to capture sediment to rebuild the marsh behind the breakwater; and marsh plantings to vegetate and hold the sediment as the marsh rebuilds.

In the coming year, Dr. Marianne Walch, Science and Restoration Coordinator for the CIB, said “We plan to select and prioritize five demonstration sites on the Inland Bays.”  The criteria for selecting the locations will be public access to view the site, inclusion of both high wave energy and low energy locations, and sites that afford the opportunity to demonstrate various designs and techniques incorporating a range of materials. Learn more about living shorelines.

The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays and its watershed.  With its many partners, the CIB conducts public outreach and education, develops and implements restoration projects, encourages scientific inquiry and sponsors research.  For more information contact Sally Boswell at 226-8105, or email at  or, go to our website at