New York Tidal Wetlands Guidance Document

From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), this document offers guidance on permitting requirements for public or private living shorelines projects in the Marine and Coastal District Waters of New York (Lower Hudson River to the tip of Long Island). Intended for permitting staff, design professionals, and property owners, this guidance encourages living shorelines over other hardening approaches for flood and erosion control and promotes consistent permit determination for living shoreline projects. Information is provided on the benefits of living shorelines for adaptation and beyond, types of techniques, proper siting considerations, and maintenance and monitoring guidance. This document responds to the recommendation of the New York State 2100 Commission Report to encourage the use of natural infrastructure, such as living shorelines, for climate resilience measures.

DEC states that it prefers the use of ecologically sustainable techniques over hardening techniques when erosion control projects are necessary in the Marine District. Because shoreline stabilization within the Marine District requires state permitting, this guidance describes the various state permit requirements as well as evaluation standards for such projects. 

The following examples are given as living shoreline options best suited for low to moderate wave energy environments that may be viable in the Marine District:

  • Beach nourishment /sand replenishment to restore coastal processes
  • Bank stabilization with vegetation
  • Edging or toe protection
  • Vegetated slope with additional structural protection
  • Low profile sill with vegetation

The guidance takes into account climate change impacts with an emphasis on planning for sea level rise, and indicates that living shorelines are typically more adaptable to sea level rise than traditional hardened shorelines. When designing a living shoreline, applicants are directed to consider climate change and sea-level rise by recognizing that conditions are likely to change over the life-span of the structure and design accordingly. (See Appendix C, CRRA and Sea-Level Rise Projections.)

Appendix B provides the user with a Permit Application Checklist and Appendix D offers demonstration project examples.


Publication Date: November 22, 2017

Related Organizations:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Agency guidance/policy

States Affected:


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