Planning for Shoreline Restoration

Planning for successful restoration involving sustainable shoreline techniques requires an understanding the physical resources that impact the shoreline and the relevant regulatory and legal frameworks. It also require access to resources to support the use of native species. Not sure what you’re looking for? We’ve compiled a resource library for you here.

Physical forces along the Hudson

Understanding the cause of erosion is key to successful outcomes. The following resources can help designers and practitioners better understand a site’s characteristics and the physical forces that impact it. They also can inform the choice of an appropriate management technique. 

General resources

  • Hudson River Physical Forces Analysis: Data and Methodology is an analysis of the physical forces that impact the Hudson’s shorelines. It provides critical information on the parameters required for the proper design of ecologically enhanced shoreline stabilization projects, including wind and waves, vessel wakes, currents, and ice.
  • Hudson River Estuary Flow Model compiles simulated riverside water circulation statistics from a high-resolution numerical model of circulation in the tidal Hudson, using data from 2010. Parameters include water levels, currents, vertical current stresses and mixing, and surface wind waves. This can be used to understand the energy regimes impacting shorelines and help identify suitable shoreline stabilization alternatives.
  • Hudson River Wake Study is an analysis of the wake climate within the river; it was developed to help understand the erosion potential of wakes.

Ice and climatology

Bathymetry and topography

  • Bathymetry and Benthic Mapping is a grid showing elevation in meters of the floor of the Hudson River Estuary.
  • Topography LiDAR offers geotiff images of contours. Collected in 2012.This LIDAR data is intended for use in coastal management decision making.

Natural resources

  • Hudson River Flood Impact Decision Support System is an interactive map application that supports evaluation of the scale of potential flooding for tidally-affected shorelines, under a variety of sea level rise and storm scenarios, of the Hudson River Valley and the Long Island Sound coast of Westchester County.
  • Hudson Valley Natural Resource Mapper is a user-friendly, interactive, online mapping tool that gathers more than 30 geographic data sets for the Hudson River estuary watershed. The data aids land-use decision-makers in identifying and conserving priority lands that benefit communities and contribute to watershed health.
  • New York OPD Geographic Information Gateway is an interactive mapping tool that provides public access to data, real-time information such as tides and water quality, and interactive tools for use in planning and visualization.
  • The NY GIS Clearning House hosts the Shoreline Types Polyline, which shows shoreline types for the tidal Hudson River, from the Tappan Zee Bridge to Troy.
  • The NY GIS Clearning House hosts SAV (Hudson River Estuary Documented Submerged Aquatic Vegetation) polygons, which show the extent of SAV (water celery and water chestnut) in the estuary, with separate coverage for 1997, 2002, and 2007.
  • Hudson River Tidal Wetlands offers maps of the Hudson’s vegetated habitats. It contains polygons showing the tidal wetland distribution from Hastings-on-Hudson to Troy. Data were interpreted from an aerial photo inventory acquired in 2007.
  • Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Boundaries was identified by the NYS Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources for the State’s Coastal Management Program.
  • New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System (NYHOPS) provides meteorological and oceanographic conditions in real-time and forecasted up to 72 hours in the Hudson River, the East River, NY/NJ Estuary, Raritan Bay, Long Island Sound, and the coastal waters of New Jersey. Graphic images are available of water level; surface and bottom temperature; surface and bottom salinity; surface and bottom currents; NOAA winds; coastal wave height, period, and direction; and CDOM (Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter).


  • Vegetation of Riprapped Revetments along the Freshwater Tidal Hudson River, New York is an analysis of the abundance and composition of vegetation in riprap revetments on Hudson River shorelines. It showed that revetments commonly host a mix of ~50% native and 50% non-native plants. Shorelines varied from nearly barren to flush with plants. The potential to increase habitat value with ecologically-informed design and management is discussed.
  • The Ecology of Freshwater Wrack Along Natural and Engineered Hudson River Shorelines explored the ecology of wrack on different types of Hudson River shorelines. The study found that engineered shorelines tended to accumulate little wrack, have high wrack loss rates, and exhibit low diversity of invertebrate communities. These indicate a loss of ecological function.
  • The Ecology of Wrack: Decomposition and Use By Invertebrates On Natural and Engineered Shorelines of the Hudson River focuses on decomposition rates and invertebrate communities of wrack on four different types of Hudson River shorelines. Faster decomposition rates and lower invertebrate density were found on cribbing, compared to the other shoreline types. Riprap showed similar decomposition rates and invertebrate density to the rocky shoreline. The findings show that neither cribbing nor riprap can replace the ecological function of natural sandy shorelines.
  • Biodiversity in Hudson River Shore Zones: Influence of Shoreline Type and Physical Structure documented the biodiversity supported by different kinds of shore zones in the Hudson River Estuary. Physical characteristics and biological communities were assessed for six common shore zone types. It was found that engineered shore zones (especially cribbing and bulkheads) tend to have less desirable biodiversity characteristics than “natural” shore zones (e.g., they have fewer fish and native plants and more invasives). No single shore type provided high values for all of the ecological functions assessed.
  • The Ecology of Freshwater Shore Zones provides a comprehensive summary of what is known about the ecological functioning of the shore zone in freshwater ecosystems.
  • Gastropods of the Hudson River Shoreline: Subtidal, Intertidal, and Upland Communities focuses on gastropod abundance and diversity at six types of shore zones: sand, bedrock, unconsolidated rock, riprap, seawall, and timber cribbing. The study found that riprap and unconsolidated rock at intertidal elevations contained significantly higher abundance and diversity of gastropods. Sand beaches and seawall structures were less supportive. The survey found three aquatic species which were new records for the Hudson.
  • Effects of Surface Roughness on Ecological Function: Implications for Engineered Structures in the Hudson River Shore Zone investigates whether and how manipulation of surface roughness on artificial structures alters its ecological function in the shore zone. Tiles with different surface roughness were deployed at four sites on the freshwater tidal Hudson, and the accumulation of algae, organic matter, and macroinvertebrates was measured. Two sites had high-energy conditions and two had low-energy conditions. It was found that surface roughness can alter ecological function, but the effects depend at least partially on site-specific factors, including exposure to wave energy and the pre-existing food web structure.

Regulatory and legal resources

All shoreline projects must be fully permitted by the appropriate state and/or federal agencies. To determine whether a particular project would require a permit, contact your state permitting office. The following guidelines and resources pertain to New York State. 

Do I need a permit for my shoreline project (in New York State)?

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) recommends the following resources for determining which permits are needed for a particular project:

  1. Environmental Resource Mapper. The Environmental Resource Mapper (ERM) shows the approximate location of NYS-mapped freshwater wetlands, the location and classification of streams/waterbodies, occurrences of threatened and endangered species, and more (using the “Layers and Legend” ribbon). The ERM can be used to review a project area and/or determine whether a permit application needs to be submitted to the NYSDEC. It can also be used to create and print maps that can be submitted as part of the permit application process. 
  2. Permits, Licenses, and Registrations. This webpage from the NYSDEC website shows common permits, licenses, registrations and certifications needed for projects and activities.
  3. NYSDEC Permit Administrators. Contact an NYSDEC permit administrator for comprehensive information on regulations related to a potential shoreline project.  

Required supplements to your application (in New York State)

Additional Required Application Items. This resource contains a list of required supplements to your New York State permit application. Regulators need this information to understand the project goals and evaluate how best to mitigate potential impacts. This resource also contains information about application fees for environmental permits. 

For comprehensive information on additional required application items, contact your local NYSDEC Permit Administrators office.

More regulatory resources

New York SeaGrant’s Guide to Permitting: The permitting process is complex and it can be daunting to know where to begin. New York Sea Grant’s Guide to Permitting: Shoreline Modification Projects in New York’s Tidal Waters provides an overview of the process informed by federal, state, and local perspectives.

Joint Application Form (scroll down to the top of the “Waterways, Coastlines, & Wetlands” table). and instructions Keep in mind that other agencies- including federal, state, and local- may also have jurisdiction over shoreline activities, and may require permits for a project. This resource contains information on submitting a joint application to the NYSDEC, the New York State Office of General Services, the New York State Department of State, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. 

NYSDEC Permit Applications (DART) search. This resource can be used to check the status of permit applications that have been submitted. 

Tidal Datums and Their Application. This document provides background information on tidal datum planes. Tidal datums are chiefly used to determine horizontal boundaries, and for estimating heights or depths. The legal determinations of private and public lands, state owned tidelands, state submerged lands, U.S. Navigable waters, U.S. Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone, and the High Seas, or international waters, depend on the determination of tidal datums and their surveyed intersection with the coast.

Legal frameworks

Mitigating Shore Erosion on Sheltered Coasts discusses the legal demarcation between private and public lands, the “shoreline,” which is usually taken to be the intersection of the mean high water line with the beach profile

Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project: Legal Framework Analysis summarizes relevant plans, laws, and policies at the federal, state, and local levels. It covers topics including water quality control, wetland protection, stormwater management, disaster mitigation, floodplain management, environmental review, local land use controls, and other laws and programs. For each area, the report describes policy purpose and implementation, identifies limitations and concerns, and suggests opportunities to promote informed shoreline management and protect habitats.

Cost/benefit analyses

The following resources can support evaluation of the costs and benefits associated with sustainable shorelines.


Native planting resources

Native plants are the backbone of ecosystems, providing habitat and food for the native species that make our ecosystem thrive. This video discusses the importance of planting native meadows, but the reasoning applies to all other native habitats as well.

The following resources are intended to aid individual landowners, landscapers and restoration practitioners in choosing New York native plant species for planting projects in the Hudson River watershed. These resources are not comprehensive. If you have any questions or suggestions with regard to expanding them, please contact

Native Plant Nurseries

The following table shows nurseries that sell plant species found in or near the Hudson River Estuary. The plants sold are not necessarily the native cultivars. For a true restoration project where native cultivars are needed, please inquire with the nursery or other seller as to where the seed stock or propagated plants were originally sourced. 

Catskill Native Nursery607 Samsonville RoadKerhonkson, NY, 12446845-626-2758nursery-propagated North American perennials, fruits, shrubs and trees.
Ernst Conservation Seeds9006 Mercer PikeMeadville, PA, 16335-9299800-873-3321seed mixes, live stakes, live cuttings, live whips, rooted cutting/bareroot plants
Helia Native Nursery342 N Plain RdHousatonic, MA, 01236413-528-1400New England / NY locally propagated plants
Long Island Natives220 Old County RdEastport, NY 11941631-801-2855perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs
NYS Tree Nursery2369 NY-50Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866518-581-1439bareroots from NY seed-sources, order in winter for delivery in spring
The Native Plant Center at SUNY WCC75 Grasslands RoadValhalla, NY 10595914-606-7870native plants (sold 1x per year)
The Plantsmen Nursery482 Peruville Rd. (Route 34B)​Groton, NY, 13073​607-533-7193native grasses, shrubs, trees, perennials, shade and wetland plants, propagated in-house.
Waterford Gardens74 E Allendale RdSaddle River, NJ, 07458201-327-0721aquatic plants
American Native Plants7500 Marshy Point RdMiddle River, MD, 21220410-529-0552native trees, shrubs, Herbs
Earth Tones Native Plants212 Grassy Hill RdWoodbury, CT, 06798203-263-6626native plants
New England Wetland Plants, Inc820 West StAmherst, MA, 01002413-548-8000native plants and trees, wetland seed mixes
Fiddlehead Creek7381 NY-40Fort Ann, NY, 12827518-623-5505native plants
Octoraro Native Plant Nursery6126 Street RdKirkwood, PA, 17536717-529-3160native plants
Pinelands Nursery323 Island RdColumbus, NJ, 08022609-291-9486native trees, shrubs, grasses
Southern Tier Consulting2701-A Route 305 PO Box 30West Clarksville, NY,1 14786585-968-3120wetland shrubs, trees, cutting, fascines, seed mixes
Sugarloaf Native Nursery22300-A Dickerson RdDickerson, MD, 20842240-489-4367trees,shrubs, perennials, aquatic plants, herbs and grasses
Vermont Wetland Plants29 Old Foundry RdOrwell, VT, 05760802-948-2553wetland shrubs, trees, herbs, seed mixes
White Oak Nursery801 W Washington StGeneva, NY, 14456315-789-3509native trees and shrubs

Sources for Biodegradable Landscaping Materials

The following table shows sources for purchasing landscaping materials, such as tree tubes, coir rolls, and other bio-engineering products for use in planting, landscaping and shoreline erosion control. Wholesale-only suppliers are listed for larger-scale projects.

Arbor Day Foundation2611 Arbor AvenueNebraska City, NE, 68410tree tubes, waterers
Eco-Systems, Inc.6640 N. Old State Road 37Bloomington, IN, 47408812-339-6664bio-engineering products: coir logs and blankets, geo-fabrics
Ernst Conservation Seeds9006 Mercer PikeMeadville, PA, 16335-9299800-873-3321wattles/fascines, live branch layering, brush mattresses, posts, coir logs, and blankets.
Forestry Suppliers, Inc.205 West Rankin StreetJackson, MS, 39201800-647-5368weed mats
Rolanka International155 Andrew Dr.Stockbridge, GA, 30281800-760-3215coir, synthetic bioengineering products
Tree Pro3180 W 250 NWest Lafayette, IN, 47906800-875-8071tree tubes and stakes
Tree Protection Supply5 Haynie StNewnan, GA, 30263770-683-2390tree tubes and stakes
ACF Environmental20 Continental Blvd.Merrimack, NH 03054603-377-7795erosion control fabrics
Conservation Services1620 North Delphine AveWaynesboro, VA, 22980540-941-0067tree tubes, stakes, weed mats
EcofabriksP.O. Box 8402Gaithersburg, MD 208981-877-264-7628coir products
East Coast Erosion Control443 Bricker RdBernville, PA, 19506610-486-8496erosion blankets, coir mats, textiles
Erosion Control BlanketsHighway 8 and Vidir Line RdRiverton, Manitoba, R0C TR0, Canada1-866-280-7327erosion control fabrics
GEI WorksPO Box 780928Sebastian, FL 32978772-646-0597wattles, coir logs, erosion control, stakes, turbidity curtains
Hanes Geo Components815 Buxton StreetWinston-Salem, NC 27101888-239-4539wattles, coir logs, erosion control, geotextile fabrics, stakes
L&M Supply60 Walnut Street Unit 2Marcus Hook, PA 19061800-948-1770coir logs, erosion control, turbidity curtains
North American Green14649 Highway 41North Evansville, IN, 47725800-772-2040coir and synthetic bio-engineering products
Octoraro Native Plant Nursery6126 Street RdKirkwood, PA, 17536717-529-3160tree tubes and stakes
Pinelands Nursery323 Island RdColumbus, NJ, 08022609-291-9486bio-engineering fabrics
Western Excelsior901 Grand AveMancos, CO, 813281-866-540-9810erosion control fabrics