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Soft shoreline alternatives for coastal stabilization and habitat enhancement Russell, Danielle 2015-04-29

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SOFT SHORELINE ALTERNATIVES FOR COASTAL STABILIZATION AND HABITAT ENHANCEMENT Danielle Russell April 29, 2015 Report prepared at the request of Port Metro Vancouver in partial fulfillment of UBC Geography 419: Research in Environmental Geography, for Dr. David Brownstein. 
Table of Contents Executive Summary .………………………………..…………………………………………… 3 Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Background Information ………………………………………………………………………… 4 I. Port Metro Vancouver Land Use Plan ……………………………………………… 6 II. Interviews …………………………………………………………………………… 6 III. Green Marine ……………………………………………………………………….. 7 IV. Green Shores ………………………………………………………………….…….. 8 Case Studies ……………………………………………………………………………….…….. 8 V. Port of Seattle, Washington ………………………………………………….……… 8 VI. Puget Sound, Washington …………………………………………………….…….. 9 VII.  Jericho Park, Vancouver, British Columbia …………………………………..…. 10 VIII. Cates Park, District of North Vancouver, British Columbia …..…….………….. 10 IX. Squamish Estuary, British Columbia ……………………………………………… 10 X. Port Coquitlam, British Columbia ………………………………………………… 11 XI. Windsor Port Authority, Ontario ………………………………….……………….. 11 XII. Lower Great Lakes Region, Ontario ………………………….………………….. 12 Habitat Enhancing Vegetation ………………………………………………………………….. 13 Sea-level rise …………………………………………………………………………………… 15 Further Research ……………………………………………………………………………….. 15 Conclusion  …………………………………………………………………………………….. 16 Acknowledgements …………………………………………………………………….………. 17   Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………………… 18 
1Executive Summary  This report attempts to answer the question; How can Port Metro Vancouver incorporate more environmentally sustainable shoreline management strategies? ‘Soft Shorelines’ is the term most often used to describe the practice of sustainable shoreline management. In general, soft shorelines are used in place of traditional ‘hard’ structures (ex. seawalls, groynes, etc.) to stabilize coastlines against erosion while maintaining natural habitats by mimicking natural processes. The following report presents my argument in favour of soft shorelines as they are more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable then traditional hard structures.  By examining North American case studies of what other port authorities and municipalities are currently doing, I have compiled a list of best practices that may guide PMV in future implementation. My research methods included a comprehensive literature review followed by four interviews with local experts on this topic. The interviewees included Dr. John J. Clague, a sea-level rise expert, and Dave Mclean, Derek Ray, and Rowland Atkins, all respected and knowledgable soft shoreline experts. This research led me to understand the basic principles for implementing a soft shoreline: identify source of problem, remove hard structure (if possible, if there is one), replenish shoreline with natural materials and species that have been lost to erosion and what will be lost to erosion until the shoreline is able to be replenished again, and continual habitat monitoring and material replenishment.  Each soft shoreline project that I outline in the report is similar but with regional differences as this method of coastal stabilization is case specific. Factors that influence how the shoreline will be protected depend on the water salinity (which influences species that can be incorporated), whether the site is a sediment ‘sink’ or ‘source’, the history of the site (existing hard structure or pollution), whether it is inhabited (by humans or invasive species), and/or how sea-level rise will influence the long-term. Many other aspects must be considered as well including the type and shape of the shoreline which can all be managed by looking to nature to understand the natural forces at work. Throughout this paper I outline many soft shoreline techniques while also emphasizing that all coastal processes must be considered. When we understand what the problem is, whether it is sediment depletion or increased erosion, we can then mimic the natural processes to protect the coastline and habitats rather than try to constrict them.  From my research, I have formulated recommendations which are synthesized below that could be included in future policy changes surrounding soft shoreline implementation. Along undeveloped shorelines, stabilization projects using soft techniques that enhance habitat can be achieved with the constant replenishment of sediment and replanting of vegetation to not only improve aquatic and inter-tidal habitats but also to sustain shoreline sediment. Other methods can be implemented alongside replenishment to reduce the frequency that shoreline materials need to be replaced including resloping of the land as well as the placement of off-shore natural breakwaters. A more more gradual slope reduces the waves energy as it breaks on the shoreline and also increases runoff for better drainage which can also be adapted more easily to rising sea level. Additionally, natural off-shore breakwaters such as artificial reefs can be constructed below the surface using boulders, mussel beds, vegetation, or a combination to promote habitat colonization while reducing wave energy. Along already existing hard structures that can not be removed, try to incorporate these soft shoreline techniques where possible. 2Introduction  Partnered with Port Metro Vancouver, I have been researching the issue of future shoreline stability as the climate continues to change and impact rates of erosion.  The following paper is an examination of prior academic research combined with interviews from experts on the topic of shoreline stability. For clarification, “soft shoreline engineering (SSE) is the use of ecological principles and practices to reduce erosion and achieve stabilization and safety of shorelines, while enhancing riparian habitat, improving aesthetics and even saving money,” (Hartig 2011, 1231). Another comparative definition, soft shorelines, or soft stabilization, “incorporate natural materials in a design that minimizes impacts to natural processes. In contrast, hard armoring techniques use hard materials such as large rock, concrete, or steel in designs that alter the shoreline configuration and severely limit natural processes,” (Gianou 2014, 5). Examples of constructed ‘hard shorelines’ include, seawalls, groynes, “breakwalls or steel sheet piling” (Hartig 2011, 1231). The main objective of soft shorelines is to stabilize the shoreline while considering the long-term effects on the environment.   My research aims to answer the question, How can the port incorporate more environmentally sustainable shoreline management strategies? and, Where and how is this currently practiced in Canada? The latter question is key to advising Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) but did not limit my research as more recent soft shoreline practices in the state of Washington proved to be far more applicable to BC’s similar coastline. Growing concern over the impact sea-level rise will have on our shoreline combined with a greater social concern for more sustainable techniques has raised the level of importance of this issue. This paper attempts to answer my research question by compiling relevant research and case studies and using the advice of experts to inform PMV on soft shorelines techniques that may be implemented in the future.  Initially, I focused on prior literature related to climate change’s impacts on shorelines, successful soft shoreline techniques, shoreline management and the most effective method for maintaining them. These areas seemed to be the most important because I needed to fully understand whether soft shorelines were always the better alternative to traditional hard shorelines or if a combination was the most effective stabilization strategy. Collection of prior academic research was essential for establishing the base of my research. Next, I conducted expert interviews to determine concerns, local examples and best techniques in regards to sustainable shoreline management. I was fortunate enough to interview four local experts in the field who provided valuable information and guidance that I have outlined below in greater detail. All together, my primary and secondary research expanded my knowledge of soft shorelines and allowed me to compile a list of applicable, best practices that I have listed in this report. Background Information  A prominent shoreline management company in Vancouver, Golder Associates, has expressed concern for the future state of BC’s coastline because “provincial experts are advising industry and government organizations in BC to allow for sea-level rise in the range of 50 cm by year 2050 and by 1 meter by year 2100. Without well-informed design, these increased shoreline 3water depths can amplify the risks of wave erosion and coastal flooding. Projects need to be planned and designed to accommodate sea-level and wave changes through their lifespan in ways that are safe, environmentally sound and that recognize urban design principles and economics,” (2014). Although the Golder Associates sea-level rise prediction slightly exceeds what PMV expects, 20-60cm over the next 100 years (Port Metro Vancouver 2014, 21), sea level rise is an issue that must be accounted for when considering any long-term shoreline management strategy. Fortunately, most of BC’s coastline is naturally hard and more resilient to erosion (Clague 2015), however, Metro Vancouver is considered to be one of the most vulnerable regions to sea-level rise, and as a result, increased shoreline erosion will persist without intervention.  Returning to my research focus, it is important to incorporate Port Metro Vancouver in all future shoreline management decisions because they are responsible for a large portion of coastline (refer to Figure 1, below). Mandated by the Canada Marine Act, section 4 states the purpose of the act is to guarantee Canadian port authorities will: “4 (d) provide for a high level of safety and environmental protection; (and) . . . 4 (f) manage the marine infrastructure and services in a commercial manner that encourages, and takes into account, input from users and the community in which a port or harbour is located” (1998, 4). As such, it is crucial that proven sustainable techniques are available to port authorities when they are considering best management practices. What follows is a brief outline of important resources and information that I was introduced to during my primary and secondary research that had a great influence on this report  4Figure 1: Port Metro Vancouver Jurisdiction from ‘Land Use Plan’ (Port Metro Vancouver 2014, 7)I. Port Metro Vancouver Land Use Plan  Of the plans 5 goals that it hopes to accomplish in the next 15 to 20 years, ‘soft shorelines’ falls under number 3: “Port Metro Vancouver is a global leader among ports in the environmental stewardship of the lands and waters it manages,” (Port Metro Vancouver 2014, 9). Although a very general goal, ‘soft shorelines’ is gaining recognition among port authorities and is a project that is being undertaken by environmental leaders in the industry. The “Port’s ability to accommodate future growth in a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable manner,” (9) is the main objective. It is also important to note that all “projects, physical works and activities conducted within Port Metro Vancouver’s jurisdiction must undergo an environment review carried out by the Port to comply with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA) and the Port’s Environment Policy. In addition, the Port is subject to other federal legislation, including the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act (SARA). . . Projects that have an impact or reduce habitat areas are subject to habitat-offsetting requirements, typically administered through Fisheries and Oceans Canada.” (17). PMV is dedicated to maintaining ecosystem stability within the Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River Estuary (20) and these offsetting measures can include soft shorelines that may be implemented along industrial coastlines to improve habitats along already existing hard structures. II. Interviews  From the interview process I was able to learn about the most current soft shoreline practices as well as gain insight into how the experts viewed this topic. Additionally, I was guided towards more local examples that I was unable to find in my initial literature review. Fortunately, I was able to interview four local experts who have greatly helped supplement and guide this report.   My first interview was with, Dr. John J. Clague (2015), a Simon Fraser University professor in the Earth Science Department whose extensive expertise includes researching sea-level change. Clague’s perspective on the impacts that sea-level rise may have on shoreline stability was extremely helpful for this project. As Clague mentioned in the interview, the issue of shoreline erosion will worsen with increased sea-level rise as deepening of the water in front of the shoreline amplifies the waves’ energy as it hits the coastline. If sea-level does continue to rise, using more sustainable techniques will be crucial for proper management of coastlines.   This latter point was also reiterated in my interview with Rowland Atkins (2015) whose experience with sustainable shoreline management explained how soft shorelines adapt more easily than hard structures to sea-level rise. As a senior geomorphologist with Golder Associates Ltd., Atkins expertise with beach replenishment, a common soft shoreline technique along with salt marsh and sand dune restoration, works to restore shorelines by mimicking natural processes. Our interview further led to a discussion on the importance of recognizing the entire coastal system from sediment inputs (source) to outputs (sink) as well as the emphasis that soft shorelines are not meant to be permanent but rather constantly changing with natural forces, continually in need of replenishment. Further in the report, I explore Atkins’ emphasis on understanding the entire system to determine which is the best soft shoreline technique to use and where it should be placed.  5 Finally, my combined interview with Derek Ray and Dave McLean from Northwest Hydraulic Consultants provided more examples of different soft shorelines that they’ve created along Vancouver Island. A technique they use that has been effectively implemented over the past five years is ‘geobags’. Geobags are small bags filled with soil and seeds of native species that are placed along the shoreline to stabilize the existing sediment and absorb wave energy. They are porous in design and often deteriorate over time (although sometimes remaining intact) as plants grow out of them and into the shoreline they’ve been placed on top of. This process of re-vegetation is important in almost all soft shoreline projects and can be used to both stabilize and enhance habitat. Another method they discussed was the use of large wood debris (LWD) parallel to the shore and anchored by large boulders or already existing riprap to reduce wave energy or used on shore as a buffer zone between the beach and berm. Both Derek Ray and Dave McLean made it clear that transitioning from a hard to soft shoreline using these methods must happen gradually in order to avoid increased erosion from waves going overtop of the geobags or LWD and eroding the unstable shoreline behind. Another positive that was highlighted in our interview was lower cost that is generally associated with soft shorelines in the long-run in comparison to hard structures. Overall, the experts I interviewed shared similar information and opinions about soft shorelines and all proved to be extremely informative and shared many examples and best practices for maintaining habitat and adapting to sea-level rise. III.Green Marine  The Green Marine program is a great starting place for port authorities looking to discover more environmentally sustainable practices to reduce pollution under the “voluntary environmental certification program for the North American marine industry,” (Green Marine 2013). Although this program is also open to shipowners, terminals, seaway corporations and shipyards, I chose to focus specifically on what other ports are doing to improve shoreline stability and ecosystems. The annual report highlights industry wide improvements that continue to indicate overall environmental improvement due to measures adopted by companies to improve their certification rating. Although many port authorities have adopted this standard and have contributed new and innovative practices to improve waterways and prevent pollution, few ports are leading in sustainable shoreline management. Of the 24 participating port authorities, Port Metro Vancouver ranked among the highest in all categories for environmental sustainability most recently (2013) which included; greenhouse gas management (rating of 5, the highest rating), spill prevention (rating of 3), community impacts (rating of 5), and environmental leadership (rating of 5) (Green Marine 2013). Green Marine awards a level 5 rating when “participants have shown excellence by achieving defined reduction targets or systemic use of technologies,” (Green Marine 2013). To add to PMVs environmental success I narrowed my investigation to the other high ranking ports to see what shoreline management techniques were being used that could also be considered along Vancouver’s coastline. This program will most likely continue to provide valuable ideas and motivate sustainable change within the industry for  years to come.   6IV. Green Shores  The Stewardship Centre for BC’s Green Shores program served as a useful resource for numerous case studies on soft shoreline projects within BC. This is a helpful resource provided by the Province of British Columbia that contains useful information and support for anyone interested in softening shorelines. The three part document outlines the importance of maintaining aquatic habitats in order to protect the shoreline from increased erosion by explaining the basic soft shoreline techniques that can be applied to different types of shorelines. Many of the  detailed projects listed on the Green Shores website are discussed in detail below in the Case Studies section. Case Studies  Hard shorelines have long been the ‘go to’ method for managing shorelines, a solid engineered structure meant for the short term but believed to be the most effective method. However, shoreline hardening has long-term detrimental effects on shorelines and surrounding habitats. For example, Brown et al. (2014) examined the ineffectiveness of ‘hard’ shorelines, particularly when they are used to stabilize a section of vulnerable soft cliff coast. Erosional effects are multiplied at the ends of the seawall which leads to further extensions and the addition of groins to hold beaches in place. This “cycle of set-backs” (Brown 2014, 3) is inefficient and over time reduces sediment availability making the shoreline even more difficult and expensive to maintain. Other similar examples can be found throughout the discourse that further prove these hard structures have many drawbacks and that an alternative to traditional stabilization practices needs to be more widely considered.  Below are numerous case studies that examine how to ‘soften’ shorelines in many different situations, from transitioning hard structures to improving the stability of ‘untouched’ shorelines. I have chosen a variety of examples from Canada and along the west coast of North America to determine the most applicable practices that may be considered by Port Metro Vancouver. It is important to note that many of the specific techniques listed are best used in combination to maximize effective shoreline stabilization and habitat enhancement. Although all soft shoreline techniques are case specific, I have summarized the techniques used in each coastal region. V. Port of Seattle, Washington  The Port of Seattle has not directly incorporated soft shoreline techniques along any of its active shipyards however they have created numerous habitats to compensate for losses. The Port’s primary focus is wetland and fish habitat restoration and they have successfully “restored or enhanced over 31 acres of fish and wildlife habitat at 16 sites throughout the Duwamish River, Elliott Bay, Puget Sound, and Lake Washington Ship Canal,” (Port of Seattle). Key habitat enhancement practices include removal of hard shoreline structures where possible, removal of sunken marina, and replacement of creosote wooden pilings. Many of the Port of Seattle restoration projects have been undertaken in uninhabited areas in need of pollution management, invasive species removal, and re-vegetation of native species. As I found with most other port authorities, there was little emphasis on management of already existing hard structures along active industrial coastlines.  7VI.   Puget Sound, Washington  More broadly throughout the state of Washington, the Department of Fish and Wildlife have sought to better create guidelines for more sustainable shoreline management. One of the most resourceful and applicable documents to my research so far has been the “Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines” (Johannessen et al. 2014). This extensive document provided recent case studies from the Puget Sound region of Washington which is ecologically similar to BC’s south coast. To begin with, this document provided important information about the oceanic setting and coastal processes that take place in Puget Sound, Washington that may be considered very similar throughout the Straight of Georgia. The Washington coastline is heavily developed and inhabited and has heavily relied on seawalls to protect private property which are in need of constant repair to prevent collapse. Some of the adverse effects that have resulted from such a reliance of hard structures also include loss of sediment along shorelines which has altered aquatic and inter-tidal habitats. Below are a few of the alternative ‘soft’ methods currently being explored:   1. Beach nourishment: This is “the natural or artificial supply of sand or gravel to a beach” (qtd. in Johannessen et al. 2014, 123) to replenish what was lost due to natural erosional processes. Perhaps one of the most commonly used alternatives to hard structures that has less adverse impacts on habitats, this method also is more aesthetically desirable. Unfortunately, this technique can be costly and is typically in constant need of replenishment as water currents cause sediment to drift away. To combat this problem, a combination of resloping and re-vegetation can also be used to keep sediment in place longer. These methods are explained in greater detail below. 2. Large wood: “Large wood placement designs typically consist of large tree trunks with and without rootwads that are designed to add structure and complexity in order to diminish wave induced erosion of the landward shore. Large wood placement can be used in combination with beach nourishment or vegetation to raise the elevation of the backshore for the same purpose,” (Johannessen et al. 2014, 152). 3. Re-slope and re-vegetation: This technique “consists of reducing or lowering the gradient of the slope in order to increase its stability and subsequently planting at the site, preferably with native riparian vegetation. Resloping can be considered as an approach to mitigating slope instability” (Johannessen et al. 2014, 169). Re-sloping and beach nourishment should always be considered in conjunction especially when considering how it will impact the rate of erosion and how often sediment will need to be replaced. My interview with Dave McLean and Derek Ray also brought to light the benefits of a low angle shoreline on erosion rates as it reduces wave energy. 4. Bulkhead removal: “Armor has been installed in many locations throughout the region where coastal erosion is not a real threat. For example armor exists along many shores with insubstantial erosion in which the bulkhead serves as more of a landscaping feature,” (Johannessen et al. 2014, 186). In these cases, as may be similar in Vancouver, these hard structures should be removed to allow for natural 8sediment replenishment. Often, hard structures deprive large sections of coastline, perhaps much farther away, that depend on erosion and sediment drift to replenish the shoreline naturally. VII.   Jericho Park, Vancouver, British Columbia  This is an example of ecological restoration after the removal of a wharf. This project had to take into consideration the proper removal of aging creosote wood pilings to prevent further pollution. After the wharfs removal, the “addition of sand fill to enhance and improve intertidal substrates, . . . addition of  boulders in the intertidal and shallow subtitle zones,” (Green Shores 2008, 2) were put in place to stabilize the shoreline and support aquatic species re-colonization. There was also additional restoration along the “back shore beach-grass community with dune wild-rye, beach pea, yarrow, and silvery burweed,” along with “sand and gravel intertidal habitat which can be used by surf smelt and Pacific sandlance for spawning,” (2). The main soft techniques used included beach replenishment, re-sloping and re-vegetation which will need continual monitoring and replenishment as needed.  VIII.   Cates Park, District of North Vancouver, British Columbia  Cates Park, or Whey-ah-Wichen, underwent an “$80,000 project designed to halt the erosion caused by wind and waves, and possibly exacerbated by global climate change,” (Shepherd 2014). I was fortunate enough to meet with Rowland Atkins from Golder Associates, who worked on this project and explained in more detail the chosen soft shoreline technique. As Atkins explained, a hard shoreline would not have been the best option if the City of District of North Vancouver wished to keep the beach area. This is because an armoured seawall or riprap shoreline would have depleted the sediment supply that feeds Cates Park beach. Instead, a natural beach was re-created along the section of coastline facing the greatest amount of erosion. This soft shoreline will be in constant need of replenishment as it slowly erodes to supply sediment to the neighbouring beach. Typically, replenishment means that “small amounts of sand and gravel will need to be added every 10 years to replenish the beach” (Shepherd 2014); the time scale is dependent on erosional rates that can shift annually. As Rowland Atkins (2015) explained, this soft shoreline method is meant to protect shorelines while maintaining natural processes; hard structures may protect the shore against erosion for a longer term but eventually they will erode and collapse all the while depleting sediment sinks throughout their lifespan.   Although this project was undertaken by the District of North Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver has also been actively improving the aquatic habitat along the Cates Park Shoreline. “In 1995 the Port built a reef under the waves at Cates Park — this reef is now inhabited by octopus, rock fish, crabs, sea anemones and shrimp,” (Port Metro Vancouver 2014, 17). The reef may also act to reduce wave energy before breaking on the shore which helps to reduce erosional rates. Off-shore reefs are a technique that can be used to soften shorelines and is described in greater detail below.  IX.    Squamish Estuary, British Columbia  Another Green Shores project that is in an ongoing process of redeveloping former industrial land in Squamish using the four key guiding principles: 9          “1. Preserve the integrity or connectivity of coastal processes.  2. Maintain or enhance habitat diversity and function.  3. Minimize or reduce pollutants to the marine environment.  4. Reduce cumulative impacts to the coastal environment.” (Green Shores 2007, 1)  The plan incorporated habitat features, walkways and berthing facilities to promote ecosystem health. Three specific areas were highlighted as being in need of restoration; Mamquam Blind Channel Beach, Cattermole Channel and Nexen Beach. In many areas the issue of pollution from creosote wharves was damaging estuarine habitats and hard riprap structures were starving the surrounding beaches of sediment. These man-made structures were “used as spawning substrate by herring . . . however observations indicate that there is a high mortality of herring eggs possibly due to contaminants such as creosoted piles,” (4). Strategic replacement of these structures with habitat enhancing kelp may improve fish and egg health as herring “prefer a specific vegetation type in certain locations,” (13). Nexen Beach, although overrun by invasive plant species, is an important corridor that continues to require sediment replenishment to account for erosion from long shore drift. Overall, the priority throughout the Squamish Estuary is to stabilize and improve habitats using riparian vegetation, marsh benches and eelgrass that were once naturally occurring in the region and disturbed by development. X.  Port Coquitlam, British Columbia  The Wilson Farm Habitat Enhancement Project in Port Coquitlam is another local example of habitat restoration undertaken by the Port Mann Highway 1 (PMH1) during improvements from 2008-2011. As one of the largest habitat compensation projects in BC (65 hectares), this region where the Coquitlam River flows into the Fraser River posed many difficulties while converting the 100 year old farm. The “project was based on re-introducing tidal flows into an existing network of agricultural drainage and providing access for young salmon and other fish . . . (by) constructing channels and ponds, installing tide and sluice (overshot) gates, riparian planting and upgrading the existing pump station for ‘fish-friendly’ operation,” (Port Mann Project 2012). Following completion, “tidally-influenced aquatic habitat” was quickly re-established along sections of both rivers. XI.   Windsor Port Authority, Ontario  Along with Port Metro Vancouver, the Windsor Port Authority is guiding the marine industry in environmental leadership according to the 2014 Green Marine report. A recent shoreline stabilization and habitat enhancement project undertaken focused on ‘softening’ a dock within the Detroit River. This was done by placing various sized stones along the “dock face, placement of new bollards, and site drainage design. The environmental component of the design included wave attenuating curves of the improved dock face, in-water structures and application of varying slopes on the working face during installation, and were aimed at promoting biodiversity on the river which contains whitefish, sturgeon, salmon, perch, and walleye,” (Canadian Sailings 2014). The success of this project was made possible by a combination of soft techniques including the use of strategically placed large boulders; this method is also being used along West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park to reduce wave energy and 10sediment movement. Additionally, re-sloping and re-vegetation to improve water run-off and stabilize the shoreline sediment with native plant species to improve the aquatic habitat.  The City of Windsor, in partnership with the University of Windsor, have also successfully completed a number of soft shoreline projects along the Detroit River. Refer to Figure 2 below that outlines a few of the recent projects in this area including the cost. Figure 2: Soft shoreline projects in Windsor, Ontario XII.   Lower Great Lakes Region, Ontario  My next case study by Hartig et al. (2009) examines 38 cases in the Great Lakes Region that were surveyed from 2008-2009, almost all which were once hard shorelines in need of restoration or replacement. Numerous soft techniques were used to stabilize as well as improve habitat, including: 1. Elastocoast®: This product is an “Elastomeric revetment that stabilizes shorelines and enhances habitat by increasing interstitial spaces” (Hartig et al. 2011, 1233). This Location Shoreline ProblemSoft Shoreline TechniqueCost  (if available) ReferenceWindsor Riverfront - Legacy Park Windsor, Ontario, CanadaStabilize river shoreline, and enhance fish habitat“A sloping rock revetment, cobble and sand beach, sheltering structures, and submerged shoal features were created to stabilize shoreline. Native plant species were planted to enhance fish habitat.”$3,400,000 University of Windsor Pond and Pebble Creek Rouge River Watershed-Farmington Hills, Michigan, USARemoval of small damn and other hard structures,  stabilize creek shorelineDam removal, shoreline stabilized “with natural boulders and cobbles that are sized such that they are stable and never transported downstream.” Artificial rifles were constructed (rocky, shallow part of a stream) and re-vegetation improved fish habitat by reducing sediment flow. Natural buffer created between rivers edge and private property$499,000 University of Windsor Malden Shoreline Amherstburg, Ontario, CanadaStabilize 280m of shoreline and enhance spawning habitatShoreline stabilized using "connected groynes, cobble and sand beach areas, a diversity of substrate sizes, and two large submerged offshore shoals to provide spawning habitats for the threatened lake sturgeon.”$290,000 University of Windsor designed product produced by BASF Corporation was widely used in many of the study areas along shorelines to demonstrate its effectiveness starting in 2008 which continues to be monitored. According to the company’s website, Elastocoast “protects dikes and coasts” and is “porous for better wave absorption” (BASF 2014). 2. Restore natural shoreline: Re-establishing vegetation was used to improve the shoreline ecosystems by removing invasive species and promoting recolonization by strategically placing logs to create habitats for native species. A storm water pond was also included to improve the water quality before it drained back into the river (Hartig et al. 2011, 1233). This method allows for natural processes to take control of the shoreline and may replenished with sediment in the future to combat erosion. 3. Seawall conversion: This incorporates resloping and revegetation techniques that mimic natural shorelines by completely removing the seawall and replacing it with “gently sloping irregular rock shoreline configurations and enhanced fish habitat by planting native species” (Hartig et al. 2011, 1233). 4. Rock armour: Although technically this is a hard structure, it is considered to be a soft alternative. This practice involves placing large boulders in clusters of varying sizes to reduce wave energy and “enhance aquatic habitat” (Hartig et al. 2011, 1233). Revealed in my interview with Dr. John Clague (2015), this is currently being practiced along the shoreline of West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park. 5. Riparian Buffer: Using native species opposed to offshore breakwaters, this method also stabilizes shorelines and enhances habitats. Of course, the types and number of plant species that could be used to create these ‘buffer’ zones off-shore are very case specific and therefore would not necessarily work along coastlines with heavy ship traffic. Similar results can be achieved using “off-shore deepwater rock/cobble shoals to enhance fish habitat and create lake sturgeon spawning habitats”  (Hartig et al. 2011, 1234). Habitat Enhancing Vegetation  It is important to note that all ‘soft’ methods are extremely case specific which influences the types of vegetation that can be used as well as how frequently the shoreline will need to be maintained. Identification Keys to the Aquatic Plants of British Columbia (Warrington 1994) is an important resource that outlines specific species that could be used to create soft shorelines. As outlined in Port Metro Vancouver’s Land Use Plan (2014), habitat improvement is an important part of environmental compensation using artificial reefs, intertidal benches, salt marshes and various other soft shoreline structures to re-create lost or disturbed habitats. It is important to incorporate natural vegetation into all of these projects to support re-colonization of native species more quickly.  In terms of incorporating vegetation with soft shorelines, there are certain species that are generally used in the lower mainland more often. According to Rowland Atkins “the vegetation used is site and elevation specific.  For instance eelgrass can be transplanted in the sub-tidal and sedges can be planted in the upper intertidal but they are not interchangeable. The local vegetation is of the best guide as to what will survive,” (2015). Atkins also agreed that returning 12a shoreline back to a more natural state is the best way to improve aquatic habitats and plants “give a kickstart to natural re-colonization” (2015). Continued monitoring is extremely important to avoid and remove any invasive species that may threaten the habitat restoration project. A common invasive species on the Pacific coast is smooth cord grass (Spartina alterniflora) which is native to the Atlantic coast (Coast Shore Stewardship , 17). Eelgrass and various species of marsh plants in southern BC not only support a diverse habitat, they also stabilize sediment in the intertidal zone along with kelp beds that also “dampen the influence of wave energy,” (17). Refer to Figures 3 and 4 below for examples of species native to BC coastlines.    Figure 3: Different marsh species native to British Columbia by habitat salinity from “Shoreline Structures Environmental Design” (Adams 2002, 12) 13 Figure 4: Typical Cross-section of the Georgia Straight from “Coastal Shore Stewardship” (2004, 30) Sea-level Rise  From my interview with Dr. John J. Clague, it was clear how important the issue of sea-level rise is when dealing with long-term shoreline management. Port Metro Vancouver has also acknowledged that “climate change will result in a local sea-level rise of between 20 and 60 centimetres over the next 100 years” (Port Metro Vancouver 2014, 21) which would greatly impact the rate of erosion as well as the risk of flooding. As Rowland Atkins mentioned in our interview, ‘soft shoreline’ techniques can be far more effective at battling sea-level rise than traditional ‘hard’ structures. “As coastal cities undertake long-term planning for rising sea-levels, responsible development and planning along coasts must consider how each project will enable community resilience to climate change” (Beatley 2014, 61). Further Research  In completing this report, I regret that was unable to go into further depth on three specific sub topics related to soft shorelines; the issue of invasive species, a cost-benefit analysis and a greater look into the effects of sea-level rise. The these three areas of interest could further be explored and applied to sustainable shoreline management. With habitat restoration being a key part of most soft shorelines, the importance of continued monitoring to understand the effects and extent of invasive species on projects is crucial. Also, a more in depth look at sea-level rise impacts on erosion is of great importance especially with the expected rise in the next 50-100 years potentially having devastating effects on coastal cities such as Vancouver. My interviews Dr. John J. Clague and Rowland Atkins touched on “managed retreat” that societies may face one day if shorelines are unable to adapt.   It is also important to note that although soft shorelines are the most sustainable option for shoreline stabilization and habitat conservation, it may not be the only option. Further research into the combined use of both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ structures should also be considered for 14certain scenarios where complete removal of hard structures is near impossible. Additionally, if time had permitted I would have liked to have conducted a cost-benefit analysis to determine if there was a significant difference between hard and soft shoreline structures. Although a ‘soft shoreline’ is continually evolving and most often in need of constant replenishment and management, much of the literature suggests that they are still more cost effective to maintain over a 20 year period then a ‘hard shoreline’, such as a seawall where 20-30 years is their average lifespan. Finally, as soft shorelines themselves are constantly evolving and adapting, so too are the techniques and methods we choose to implement. The sustainable shoreline management discourse is constantly growing which will undoubtedly lead to more innovative techniques that can be added by Port Metro Vancouver in the future. Conclusion  Shorelines are living systems, highly influenced by natural (waves, sediment transport and water levels) and human forces (development and pollution). The basic guiding principles when creating a soft shoreline should focus around the replacement of hard and/or polluting structures (if possible) with natural shorelines using native plant species and natural materials (sediment, logs, boulders) followed by continual monitoring and maintenance as erosion occurs.   My recommendations for Port Metro Vancouver would be to approach all future shoreline stabilization projects using soft techniques that enhance habitat. This can be done along undeveloped shorelines with the constant replenishment of sediment and replanting of vegetation to not only improve aquatic and inter-tidal habitats but also to sustain shoreline sediment. Other methods can be implemented alongside replenishment to reduce the frequency that shoreline materials need to be replaced including resloping of the land as well as the placement of off-shore natural breakwaters. A more more gradual slope reduces the waves energy as it breaks on the shoreline and also increases runoff for better drainage which can also be adapted more easily to rising sea level. Additionally, natural off-shore breakwaters such as artificial reefs can be constructed below the surface using boulders, mussel beds, vegetation, or a combination to promote habitat colonization while reducing wave energy. Along already existing hard structures that can not be removed, try to incorporate soft shoreline techniques where possible. Techniques that can be considered without disruption to port operations include resloping and/or replanting of vegetation in front of or immediately adjacent to these structures. Of course with any soft shoreline technique, continued monitoring of habitats and maintenance to counter erosion is necessary and should be included in any future policy changes that incorporate soft shoreline implementation.  From my research, I feel confident that soft shorelines are environmentally, socially, and economical more sustainable than traditional hard structures. In our interview, Rowland Atkins also agreed that soft shorelines are feasible options in industrial areas: “implementation of soft shore approach in industrial areas requires there to be space to do so, limited potential for impact to adjacent structures and a combination of natural processes that will sustain the soft shoreline. As an example you could place a pocket beach in between two wharves assuming that the natural processes were suitable (i.e. waves, currents) to the maintenance of the pocket beach” (2015). These and other examples mentioned in the Case Studies and throughout the report could possibly be adopted by Port Metro Vancouver to soften shorelines.  15 Social responsibility is also important when managing shorelines of heavily populated coastal cities, such as Vancouver; sustainable design with posterity in mind is key when considering the best long-term management strategy. “Thoughtful urban design has the power to connect land and water in a way that brings citizens closer to the sea and highlights the ocean as an integral part of the urban environment. In addition to creating a special emotional resonance, ecologically sensitive design and planning can prevent runoff of harmful pollutants, respect the health of the marine environment, and minimize urban impacts,” (Beatley 2014, 61). Although each case study highlighted was unique, most of the methods can be adapted to BC’s lower mainland and I hope that I have compiled enough examples of soft shoreline alternatives that may be applied by Port Metro Vancouver in the future. Acknowledgements  Many people have contributed to the production of this report; all of them and their contributions are noted below. Dr. John J. Clague provided valuable information on sea-level rise during our interview. His knowledge helped to shape my understanding of the long-term importance of finding sustainable shoreline management practices that acknowledge the inevitable sea-level rise. Rowland Atkins, associate senior geomorphologist with Golder Associates, thoroughly explained the processes involved in creating a soft shoreline and educated myself on the importance of managing and maintaining the entire coastal system. Additionally, Dave McLean and Derek Ray from Northwest Hydraulics provided valuable examples and techniques that can be directly applied to PMV shoreline management in the future. Also, a special thanks to Port Metro Vancouver for entrusting myself with this research project which gave me the opportunity to further my research skills and environmental knowledge base. Finally, this paper would not have been possible without my professor, Dr. David Brownstein, who provided support and continual feedback over the duration of this research project. 16Bibliography Adams, MA 2002, ‘Shoreline Structures Environmental Design: A Guide for Structures Along   Estuaries and Large Rivers’, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada, pp.   68. Atkins, R 2015, (Interview). BASF 2014, Elastocoast protects dikes and coasts. Available from:   <>. Beatley, T 2014, ‘Chapter 4: Urban Design for a Blue Planet’, in Blue Urbanism: Exploring   Connections between Cities and Oceans, Island Press/Center for Resource Economics,   Washington, DC. Brown, S; Barton, ME & Nicholls, RJ 2014, ‘Shoreline response of eroding soft cliffs    due to hard defences’, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. 167, no. 1,   pp. 3-13. Canada Marine Act, Revised Statutes of Canada 1998 (c. 10), Retrieved from the     Department of Justice Canada Website:  page-2.html#h-4 Canadian Sailings 2014, ‘Windsor businesses come together to help save fish habitats’,    Canada’s Weekly Trade and Transportation Magazine. Available from: <http://>. Clague, JJ 2015, (Interview). Gianou, K 2014, ‘Soft Shoreline Stabilization: Shoreline Master Program Planning and    Implementation Guidance’, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program,    Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA.  Golder Associates 2014, ‘Innovative Shoreline Erosion Protection and Management Solutions   Symposium’, Available from: <   name=Event_Calendar&sp_id=991&page_id=861&student=0&alumni=0>. Green Marine 2013, ‘Green Marine Participants’ 2013 Results’, Available from: <http://>. Green Shores 2007, ‘Green Shores Case Study: Overview of key Ecological Factors and    Green Shores Development Opportunities in the Squamish Estuary’, Stewardship Centre  17 for British Columbia, pp. 1-39. Available from: <  docs/squamish_estuary_case_example.pdf>. Green Shores 2008, ‘Jericho Beach Restoration Project’, Stewardship Centre for British    Columbia, pp. 1-5. Available from: <     case_study_jericho_beach_restoratio>. Hartig, JH, Zarull, MA & Cook, A 2011, ‘Soft shoreline engineering survey of ecological   effectiveness’, Ecological Engineering, vol. 37, no. 8, pp. 1231-1238. Johannessen, J; MacLennan, A; Blue, A; Waggoner, J; Williams, S; Gerstel, W; Barnard, R;  Carman, R and Shipman, H 2014, ‘Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines’, Washington   Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington. Available from:   <>. McLean, D 2015, (Interview). Port Mann / Highway 1 Project 2012, ‘Wilson Farm Habitat Enhancement Project at Colony   Farm Regional Park,’ Transportation Investment Corporation, pp. 1-16. Available from:   <>. Port Metro Vancouver 2014, ‘Land Use Plan’. Available from: <http://  planb22cbdbe1cbf6049a5bdff00004cf7b9.pdf?sfvrsn=0>. Port of Seattle, Wetland and Habitat Restoration Projects. Available from:   <  Habitat.aspx>.   Ray, D 2015, (Interview). Shepherd, J 2014, ‘Cates Park's sandy beachfront restored: Shoreline remediation to combat   erosion from wind and waves’, North Shore News. Available from: <http://>. Stewardship Centre for British Columbia 2004, ‘Coastal Shore Stewardship: A Guide for    Planners, Builders and Developers on Canada’s Pacific Coast’, Legislative Library, part   1-3, pp. 1-94. Available from: <  >. Warrington, P.D., British Columbia. Water Quality Branch & British Columbia. Resources   Inventory Committee 1994, Identification Keys to the Aquatic Plants of British   18 Columbia, Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks, Water Management Division, Water   Quality Branch, Victoria.19


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