As Seas Rise, Americans Use Nature to Fight Worsening Erosion

This article discusses how some beachfront properties are fighting back against sea level rise.

The grassy yard behind Jennifer McPeak’s house was slipping into Marler Bayou, its edge giving way as waves beat against it. She planned to stem the losses with a $14,000 seawall until a Florida permitting official suggested an alternative — marsh seedlings and bags of oyster shells arranged to blossom into a “living shoreline.”

A few years later, crabs and snails crawl among the oysters and grasses in McPeak’s living shoreline, which occupies nearly the width of her shoreline. Fish school in it when the tide is up. The effects of years of erosion have been reversed; sand is being trapped in the yard when storms and floods hit instead of being washed away.

“We’re clawing back land here,” McPeak said, standing on sandy lawn near the end of a fence, where it used to hang over the water. “I’m loving rough water events now, because I think, ‘Hoo hoo hoo, free sand. So excited.’”

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