What are Nature-Based Coastal Solutions (NBCS)?

Nature-Based Coastal Solutions (NBCS) can be defined as solutions that work with, integrates, or enhances nature to sustainably protect, manage, and restore the coast and its ecosystems. NBCS can enhance coastal resilience and address both coastal infrastructure and habitat enhancement needs as sustainable shore protection. NBCS are inspired by and incorporate nature into coastal management practices and engineering designs, but also may offer other environmental, social, and economic benefits.

Here are some examples:

Living Shorelines
Source: North Carolina Coastal Federation
Living Shoreline - Sills and Vegetation
Source: North Carolina Coastal Federation
Salt Marsh in Louisiana
Source: NOAA Fisheries, Photo: Patrick M. Quigley
Vegetation Planting
Source: EPA - Coastal Wetlands Initiative
Marsh toe revetment with no scarp
Source: Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Living shoreline with offshore breakwater and beach nourishment
Source: Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Photo by K. Duhring
Living Shoreline
Source: Florida Living Shorelines
Concordia University Shoreline
Source: Concordia University

Other Examples of NBCS:

  • Artificial Reefs
  • Artificial Dunes
  • Artificial Wetlands/Marshes
  • Submerged Sills
  • Living Shorelines
  • Planting Vegetation
  • Sand Motor

However, there are many definitions for nature-based solutions, and no universally accepted version. Here are some additional links to other nature-based solutions definitions:

What are Natural Solutions?

Natural Solutions use or rehabilitate nature to enhance natural conditions and coastal ecosystems. These solutions come from existing or rebuilt natural environments or landscapes, rather than integrating natural processes or aspects into engineering designs or coastal infrastructure, such as NBCS.

Natural Dunes
Source: Michigan State University, Photo by Joshua G. Cohen

Some Examples of Natural Solutions:

  • Use/rebuilding of forests
  • Floodplains
  • Wetlands

There are many definitions for natural solutions as well. Some are linked below: