NBS Guidance

A Survey of the Effectiveness of Existing Marsh Toe Protection Structures in Virginia

About This Guide

Duhring, K., Barnard, T. A., Center for Coastal Resources Managment., Hardaway, C., & Shoreline Studies Program. (2006) A survey of the effectiveness of existing marsh toe protection structures in Virginia. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary.

Using tidal marshes and other vegetated treatments for upland erosion control has been an accepted practice for years, yet the scientific understanding and established guidelines for this approach are limited. This survey was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of existing marsh toe protection structures, a particular type of erosion control treatment associated with tidal marshes on Chesapeake Bay shorelines. Field evaluations were conducted at 36 sites in 6 localities on the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck of Virginia. General dimensions of each structure were recorded and observations made of erosion evidence, structural integrity, construction access impacts, and adjacent landscape settings. Most of the projects provide effective erosion protection for the tidal marsh and adjacent upland bank. Twenty projects (55%) were also determined to be effective as living shoreline treatments based on tidal marsh condition and because the riparian and wetland vegetation cover was interconnected. Common design standards from these projects have been incorporated into advisory guidelines.