Living Shoreline Suitability Model – MARYLAND

The Maryland Living Shoreline Suitability Model delineates appropriate shoreline stabilization practices based on current shoreline conditions. This model compiles attributes from several data sources, including an updated Maryland Shoreline Inventory and other databases. The model output includes shoreline best practice recommendations that fall into three general categories: living shorelines, traditional approaches, and special considerations.

When downloading data from this site, users agree to all conditions outlined in this disclaimer.


This product was developed by the Center for Coastal Resources Management, at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary, for the Maryland Department of the Environment, and has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement CD-963623-01-1 to the Maryland Department of the Environment. The contents of this dataset do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommend the use of commercial products mentioned in this dataset. The Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) provides these data with the understanding that they are not guaranteed to be correct or complete, and conclusions drawn from the data set are the sole responsibility of the user. Every attempt has been made to ensure that these data and the documentation are reliable and accurate. CCRM, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), and the Commonwealth of Virginia assume no liability for any damages caused by inaccuracies in the data or documentation; and make no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or utility of this information, nor does the fact of distribution constitute a warranty.

Maryland Shoreline Stabilization Mapper

An interactive display to evaluate model output. 

Recommended Shoreline Practices
Beach Nourishment with or without Structural Containment
If existing or historic beach present, nourish with sand, consider offshore breakwaters or another type of wave attenuation device with beach nourishment; consider adding plantings to the nourished areas.
Structural shoreline stabilization measure comprised of a segmented or non-segmented stone structure that is typically placed offshore parallel to the shoreline designed to dissipate wave energy and reduce erosion.
Living Shoreline
Remove existing shoreline structure if present; install a living shoreline dominated by marsh vegetation, which may include structures such as sills and oyster reefs.
Replacement Bulkhead
A replacement bulkhead may be constructed if a functional bulkhead is present; this may include the addition of a stone toe to the base of the bulkhead.
Remove existing non-functional shoreline structure, if present. Construct a new revetment with minimized channelward extents.
Special Considerations
Ecological Consideration
Management options for this shoreline may be limited by the presence of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV), Rare, Threatened, or Endangered (RTE) species/habitat. Seek advice from the Tidal Wetlands Division of MDE.
Highly Modified Area
Management options for this shoreline may be limited due to the presence of Federal navigation channels, highly developed upland (e.g. commercial wharfs), channel modifications (e.g. canals) or infrastructure directly adjacent to the shoreline (e.g. road). Seek expert advice on the design of your project.
Land Use Management
This shoreline has unique features and shoreline management considerations. Forces other than tidal erosion, such as over-land runoff, upland development, and vegetation management are likely also having an effect on bank conditions. Assessment of all factors and modifications to address causes for bank erosion are recommended. Seek advice from the Tidal Wetlands Division of MDE. May require consultation with multiple agencies.
No Action Needed
Specific management actions may not be necessary., e.g., boat ramps, undeveloped marsh, and barrier islands.
Special Geomorphic Feature
Maintain the natural condition of this shoreline to allow for unimpeded sediment movement and the corresponding response of wetlands, beach and/or dune. If primary structures are present and threatened, seek expert advice on the design of your project.
Flow Charts
Each series of questions & answers leads to shoreline recommendations based on how shorelines respond to natural conditions and existing shoreline structures (pdf)
Living Shoreline Suitability Model – GIS Data

Locality-specific links to a digital archive where GIS shapefiles can be downloaded

  • Anne Arundel County – 2021
  • Calvert County – 2021
  • Charles County – 2022
  • Dorchester County – 2021
  • Somerset County – 2022
  • St. Mary's – 2022
  • Talbot County – 2021
  • Worcester – 2022

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency State Wetland Program Development Grant CD-963623-01-1 to the Maryland Department of the Environment.Combined Logos