Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines

image of restoration project at Esopus Meadows
Established nature-based shoreline at Esopus Meadow
in 2018. Photo credit: DEC

Along the Hudson River Estuary's 300 miles of shoreline, communities are experiencing increased flooding from changing rainfall patterns and greater inundation from rising waters. Pressure is growing to alter shorelines to hold back the waters and control erosion, and community leaders, regulators, landowners, and funders are faced with important decisions about investments in shoreline infrastructure. These decisions will affect community waterfront use - and determine the future of vital river shoreline habitats.

The Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project has developed science-based recommendations for shore zone management that preserve or enhance natural benefits while meeting engineering needs. These nature-based shoreline protection methods combine living materials with structural materials and minimize disturbance of existing habitats. They are sometimes known as living shorelines, ecologically enhanced, or bio-engineered.


  1. Consider doing nothing to your shore zone, keeping it natural;
  2. Plan a shoreline that benefits you, your property, and nature;
  3. Understand the physical conditions of the Hudson River that can cause shoreline erosion (tides, ice, currents, vessel wakes, and wind-driven waves);
  4. Avoid vertical structures like wood or steel bulkheads;
  5. Use vegetation to prevent erosion and provide habitat;
  6. Use different sizes and types of material for ecological enhancement, and
  7. Contact DEC at the planning stage to check if permits are needed.

For more detailed information, please visit the Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project (leaves DEC website),including:

The Hudson River Sustainable Shorelines Project began as a multi-year effort lead by DEC's Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, (leaves DEC website) in cooperation with the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley. Partners in the Project included Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, DEC Hudson River Estuary Program, and Stevens Institute of Technology. The Consensus Building Institute facilitated the project and advisory committee, made up of property owners, regulators, policymakers, experts, and consultants.