Why Should We Care About Our Shorelines?

The population around Chesapeake Bay has grown to over 16 million people, magnifying the impacts farming, filling of wetlands, pollutants, erosion and other sources have on the region's water quality. As resource managers work to understand and address this challenge, they are assisted by Shoreline Management scientists in the Shoreline Studies Program at the Virginia Insitute of Marine Science who focus directly on the land/water interface.

Why we care
Poorly Planned Development

Shoreline erosion is a natural process, however, severe storms, sea level rise and poorly planned shoreline development projects can accelerate natural erosion rates.


The Shore Zone is economically and ecologically valuable. It provides food, shelter and breeding grounds for a variety of coastal and marine plant and animal species as well as numerous recreational and commercial opportunities.

Nutrient Recycle

Coastal plants are very effective in removing and recycling nutrients and marshes filter pollutants and retain nutrients, helping to maintain good coastal water quality.

Wave Absorption

The Shore Zone can provide significant protection against coastal storms by dissipating wave energy and absorbing flood waters.