Sassafras Landing living shoreline project at Assawoman Wildlife Area

The 'living shoreline' project at Sassafras Landing at the Assawoman Wildlife Area near Frankford was recognized by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association as one of the year's best restored shores for 2021.

Landowners, homeowners’ associations and community boards who qualify are being invited to apply for help with the cost of installing living shorelines through an expanded program offered by DNREC. The Living Shoreline Cost Share Program aims to help protect properties in watersheds throughout the state by providing cost assistance for projects that use natural materials to create a living shoreline.

The program has been revamped to offer more financial assistance to landowners for helping to defray the actual cost of the project. Additionally, DNREC staff resources will make direct contact with the landowner or group planning a living shoreline project for a better understanding of program criteria and the permitting process. To take it further, program staff are likely to serve on the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee, making them knowledgeable and more informative about this type of green infrastructure.

The Cost Share for Vegetative Shoreline Stabilization Program was originally launched by the wetlands and waterways section in roughly 2007. In 2021, the watershed assessment and management section within the Division of Watershed Stewardship became the grant applicator in addition to providing the two funding sources for the program. By the end of 2022, the Living Shoreline Cost Share Program had been redesigned and renamed and was ready for relaunch.

Living shorelines utilize natural materials, such as native plants, oyster shells and biodegradable coconut-fiber coir logs, as a barrier against shoreline erosion and flood impacts. DNREC’s Living Shoreline Cost Share Program aims to enhance the natural beauty of shoreline ecosystems while providing in-depth information for project criteria, design types and financial assistance. Financial assistance depends on the size and watershed location of the living shoreline project. Potential applicants can find a process timeline and project guidelines by going to de.gov/livingshoreline and clicking on Cost Share Program.

For eligible projects, the program provides:

• A review of project design for meeting program criteria;

• Assistance with understanding program criteria and permitting process;

• Reimbursement of a percentage of project costs to the landowner upon completion;

• Opportunities from DNREC for learning how to conduct citizen monitoring; and

• Annual maintenance checks by the cost share program for five years after the project is completed.

Eligible living shoreline project areas are located within targeted watersheds. Currently, only tidal projects in these watersheds will be considered for cost-share assistance. Groups of landowners, HOAs or community boards are also being encouraged to apply for assistance with projects where properties may be adjacent to each other or in shared neighborhood spaces.

Funding for the Living Shoreline Cost Share Program comes from a collaborative DNREC effort between the watershed assessment and management section and the Non-Point Source Program for securing funding, specifically the CWA Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant and the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant III. Information about both also can be found at de.gov/cheswip.