Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program

Living Shorelines

The current trend in Mississippi and Alabama is to install hard structures, such as bulkheads, seawalls or rip-rap on the shoreline to protect waterfront coastal property from erosion. Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant supports the use of living shorelines, in many circumstances, instead of bulkheads to control shoreline erosion.

Living shorelines use materials, such as living plant material, oyster shells or offshore breakwaters, to protect against erosion. These structures often require placement of materials on submerged lands, raising regulatory challenges not faced by traditional bulkhead installations.

MASGLP attorneys research rules and regulations related to building and permitting living shorelines. Working with other MASGC outreach team members, the Legal Program hosts educational workshops to raise awareness so more property owners and managers know about the erosion-control options.


Living Shorelines for Coastal Protection in Alabama and Mississippi, May 29, 2014.


Coastal Alabama Living Shorelines Policies, Rules, and Model Ordinance Manual (pdf)
Response prepared by Niki L. Pace, Senior Research Counsel, in August 2013

Shellfish Restoration and Alternative Shoreline Protection Policies of the Southeastern United States: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. (pdf)
Response prepare by Niki L. Pace, Research Counsel, in August, 2012.

Alabama Property Rights Issues Related to a Proposed Living Shoreline Project on Mon Louis Island (pdf)
Response prepare by Niki L. Pace, Research Counsel, in June 2011.

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program