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Shoreline Stabilization

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Shoreline erosion contributes to water quality degradation of Vermont’s waterbodies. As eroded sediments enter the water, they pollute the water with excess phosphorus and other harmful nutrients that feed the growth of blue-green algae. Significant shoreline erosion can devalue properties as land is lost and homes and infrastructure are jeopardized. As a result, private property owners and communities have recognized the need for stabilization.

In 2004 NRPC released “The Shoreline Stabilization Handbook” in collaboration with the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program at the University of Vermont, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and more than 60 other organizations and entities in Vermont and New York. During the development of the handbook NRPC reviewed existing technical manuals offering structural solutions and uncovered bio-engineering and bio-technical methods for controlling erosion. By incorporating these three categories of techniques, as well as non-structural solutions, the handbook provides a well-balanced approach to the topic.

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This resource was a first-of-its-kind manual to help property owners make informed decisions about the most appropriate, effective, and economical methods of stabilizing the shoreline of their waterfront property. The Handbook received the American Planning Association’s 2006 Outstanding Planning Award for a Project, Program, or Tool.

Since completing the handbook NRPC has continued to provide public outreach, education and technical assistance to area residents, government officials, and their consultants interested in reducing shoreline erosion in the Lake Champlain Basin.

Hardcopies of the Shoreline Stabilization Handbook are available from NRPC by calling (802) 524-5958.

Educational Workshops
In 2008, the NRPC developed and implemented a shoreline stabilization workshop series that provided attendees with an introduction to the causes of erosion and the variety of stabilization techniques that can be used to address these issues. NRPC repeated this workshop series in 2011 when many shoreline homeowners were experiencing flood conditions from the elevated level of Lake Champlain. These workshops have been targeted to homeowners along Lake Champlain and NRPC has expanded the message into Addison and Chittenden Counties to reach effected homeowners.

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Demonstration Projects
In 2012 and 2013, the NRPC offered a mini-grant program for Lake Champlain property owners in Franklin and Grand Isle counties who experienced shoreline erosion, with a focus on those areas exacerbated by the spring 2011 flooding which reached historic levels in Lake Champlain. This program was funded through grant awards from the VT Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program and paid for the design and implementation of shoreline erosion projects.

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