Step Four: Engaging With a Professional

Once you have an idea of your project site’s characteristics and the type of living shoreline to implement, the next step is often finding a shoreline management professional with experience in designing and installing living shorelines.

Keep in mind that the Online Site Suitability Evaluation Tool and Visual Site Assessment Worksheet can help point you towards the right type of living shoreline for your site, but a professional familiar with the materials and procedures needed for a successful living shoreline will be able to adapt them to your property’s unique conditions. They will help you design your project, assist with the permitting process, provide a realistic schedule and budget and, if desired, install the living shoreline.

breakwater construction

Contacting Professionals

Professionals who may be able to assist with your living shoreline project include coastal engineers, landscape architects, coastal biologists, university and agency staff, as well other experts with knowledge of local conditions and hazard mitigation.

Living shoreline design, permitting, and installation can be done without the help of a shoreline management professional, but keep in mind that a site will likely require a Coastal Boundary Survey provided by a professional surveyor if there is not one already on file. Be sure to reference this website for information on materials, permitting, construction, monitoring, and common questions, as well as other resources for tips to help the success of your project!

While there are a number of engineering firms along the Texas coast with experience in living shorelines, the Texas General Land Office cannot make recommendations regarding firms or individual professionals to hire. Community organizations, universities, regional conservation organizations, county extension offices, city and county governments, and local environmental nonprofit organizations are all potential sources that may be able to direct you to professionals who can help. Before reaching out, consider the following example questions to ask when determining which professional to engage.

Questions For Professionals

  • What is your experience with living shorelines?
  • How many similar projects have you completed and where are they located?
  • Do you do project design, construction, or both? If only design, can you recommend an experienced contractor?
  • Will you handle the permitting and will there be an extra fee for that service?
  • What do you estimate the total cost of the project will be?
  • If there are plantings, do you guarantee growth during the first year? (Usually they will not, as it’s the property owner’s responsibility to water the plantings.)
  • What is the complete timeline for the project, including permitting?
  • Can you provide client references and recommendations?

Before Moving to the Next Step...

Before seeking permits for your living shoreline project, it is important to have preliminary documentation showing the extent of the project area, types of material to be used, a post-construction monitoring plan (if needed), and conceptual and engineering diagrams. You will also need an idea of the project’s timeline, including when to plant vegetation. Having this preliminary documentation will help with the permitting process.

Step Five: Permitting Process
Now it is time to start discussing state and federal permitting requirements. The permitting process can be daunting for any shoreline project. Fortunately, help is available! We have compiled everything you need to know to help ensure a smooth permitting process.

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