Shoreline Erosion Management


At the request of the Town Manager, John Eldridge, a working group was formed to help develop standards for shoreline stabilization in Brunswick. The Town Planner serves as primary staff with assistance by the Harbor Master and Marine Resource Officer, and the Director of Planning and Development.

NOAA Coastal Resilience Grant

Increasing Resilience through Application of Nature-Based Infrastructure

Applicant: The Nature Conservancy

Recommended Federal Funding: $999,999

Match: $500,000

This regional effort to increase resilience to sea level rise in New England is focused on increasing the effective use of nature-based infrastructure for reduced erosion and enhanced wave attenuation. The project team will develop region-specific information on suitable natural infrastructure types and benefits and will work with several communities to implement and monitor a range of nature-based coastal infrastructure projects. The experience gained here will benefit communities across the region and help to advance local, state,and national policies to promote effective use of the approach to reduce erosion and offer co-benefits to the community. The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with a consortium of state coastal zone management programs, is leading the project.

Project Partners: Maine Coastal Management Program, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management Council, University of Connecticut, Northeast Regional Ocean Council

Living Shoreline

The living shoreline projects at Wharton Point and Maquoit Conservation Land were constructed in April 2020

Maine Living Shoreline: Wharton Point

Maine Living Shoreline: Maquoit Bay Conservation Land

Logic Model: Shoreline Erosion Management

The following logic model depicts the planned work and intended results for the shoreline erosion management project based on these two assumptions:

  • Natural shoreline erosion is a community issue in Brunswick
  • Additional information is required for local management decisions

View the Logic Model (PDF).

Shoreline Stabilization & Living Shoreline Best Management Practices (BMPs)

In Maine, the state and federal permit process for activities associated with shoreline stabilization favors construction practices that avoid and minimize direct impacts to wetlands and water bodies. The most expeditiously approved shoreline stabilization method that achieves the goal of reducing direct resource impacts is to fill angular blasted ledge or riprap stone on the seaward face of a cleared and graded upland slope. Angular stone is accepted for its ability to absorb wave action, and that it may be securely installed at a relatively steep slope thus reducing its footprint within the resource. Two primary concerns with the practice of using rock or structural methods of shoreline stabilization (i.e. retaining walls, bulkheads, etc.) include the removal of vegetated buffers, and the interruption to the natural transfer of upland sediment to wetlands and water bodies.

Ecologically sensitive methods of shoreline stabilization may provide long term solutions for the management of severe storms, flooding, and erosion. Living shoreline methods are intended to sustain geological and ecological systems by restoring or enhancing natural functions and values through shoreline stabilization. Unfortunately, no Best Management Practices (BMPs) for constructing living shorelines are accepted by the natural resource agencies that regulate or advise Maine. To address this fact, this technical working group is tasked with developing innovative options for the Brunswick Town Council to consider in their policy discussions pertaining to shoreline management.

Working Group Participants

  • Jane Arbuckle, Brunswick Planning Board
  • Troy Barry, Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Darcy Couture, Brunswick Marine Resources Committee
  • John Maclaine, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Mike Mullen, Maine Department of Environmental Protection
  • David Rocque, Maine Department of Agriculture Conservation and Forestry
  • Peter Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey
  • Stephen Tibbetts, Brunswick Conservation Commission
  • Mark Worthing, Brunswick Rivers and Coastal Waters Commission