RS Shorelines will be the first company in the state dedicated to building “living shorelines” to protect and enhance waterfront property in a “coastal friendly” manner.
Living shorelines are a proven approach for addressing shoreline erosion and protecting marsh areas. Unlike traditional structures such as bulkheads or seawalls — that worsen erosion — living shorelines incorporate as many natural elements as possible which results in more effectively absorbing wave energy and protecting against shoreline erosion. Unlike wooden or concrete structures, living shorelines also encourage the growth of oysters and other marine organisms which strengthen – not weaken – the erosion barriers. Oysters also improve water quality by filtering nutrients as they pump water through their gills. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation one oyster can clean up to 50 gallons of water a day.
In addition to a staff track record of 20 successfully installed living shorelines, RS Shorelines has more than 25 additional projects that they expect to complete by year’s end. Many of these projects are performed in collaboration with the North Carolina Coastal Federation. The federation is North Carolina’s oldest and largest coastal protection advocacy group and a national leader in educating the public concerning the benefits of living shorelines.
Todd Miller, Executive Director of the federation, says of the new venture, “We are extremely excited that RS Shorelines has formed to respond to increasing consumer demands for living shorelines. People now see how resilient living shorelines are in preventing erosion, and they want to hire contractors that understand how to site, design, permit and build these projects. This company recognizes this expanding market, and is forging a new business opportunity along our coast.”
The Coastal Federation as it often does, lead by example and provided critical early support and grant funding to construct the first living shoreline projects in North Carolina.
RS Shorelines is also creating the infrastructure and logistical support for this new eco-friendly business. Nearly twenty million oyster shells, that would otherwise have gone discarded, have been stockpiled for re-use in protection projects. The company recently purchased a conveyer system for bagging the shells, which they will distribute from its stockpile at North River Farms to their projects throughout the Crystal Coast. Other “shell depot” locations are being explored for the Inner Banks and Cape Fear regions. .
A significant project currently underway is the protection of Whitaker Point by the Town of Oriental. The company also sees a huge market growing for residential protection.
The company is reaching out to homeowners of shoreline property with a direct mailer of information. Additionally they have project information and photos available at www.rsshorelines.com. For those interested in a free cost-benefit analysis of a living shoreline on their property they can request a site survey by calling 844-916-2046 or submit their contact information through a very simple form at www.betterthanabulkhead.com.
RS Shorelines has the most experienced living shorelines team in region. Mary-Margaret McKinney, former owner of Carolina Silvics, says “I am excited to be able to provide coastal landowners a reasonably priced, environmentally sustainable option for protecting their properties. As a coastal resident and NC native, I have spent my career dedicated to the protection and management of our region’s natural resources. RS Shorelines gives me the opportunity to continue this work on a larger scale, helping to ensure coastal resiliency for the next generation.” Ms. McKinney is supported by project managers Josh Merritt and Grainger Coughtrey, who manage the individual installations and bring extensive experience working to please coastal landowners.
“We started installing living shorelines in 2017, and have seen interest steadily increase as the projects have proven themselves over time. At some locations we have seen properties actually grow in size because of the natural barriers. With hurricane season upon us, coastal landowners should visit our website and see how we can help protect their valuable property in a attractive, cost effective and environmental sustainable way. We provide free evaluations and can complete the permitting for shoreline in week or less for standard projects.”