GS Evaluation Case Study
For a higher resolution version of the Green Shores evaluation case study, click here.
Green Shores Gold-Rated project, Jericho Beach Restoration, was a recent winner of the City of Vancouver’s 2014 Urban Design Awards in Landscape, Public Space, and Infrastructure. (photo credit: N. Page)
Green Shores/soft shoreline example, Qualicum Beach in in storm conditions, high tide, wind speed approx.32 knots. Photo credit: H. Rueggeberg
Comparing soft (Green Shores) and hard alternatives for SLR adaptation. from Greening Shorelines to Enhance Resilience, An Evaluation of Approaches for Adaptation to Sea Level Rise available at: http://www.stewardshipcentrebc.ca/PDF_docs/reports/Greening_Shorelines_to_Enhance_Resilience.pdf Credit: SNC-Lavalin.2014
Hardened shoreline example, Qualicum Beach in storm conditions, high tide, wind speed approx.32 knots. Photo credit: H. Rueggeberg
Why choose Green Shores (GS)? Natural shorelines are living and dynamic, providing rich habitat for diverse species. They also help to regulate floods and pollution, and improve community quality of life. What’s more, new research shows that natural shorelines can also provide a buffer to protect against projected levels of sea level rise for the Vancouver region.
Development in coastal areas has often meant that that native trees, shrubs and grasses are cleared to make way for houses, lawns and views. Bulkheads, docks and piers displace beaches and erode sub-tidal sediments. Miles of dikes and individual sea walls eliminate foreshore habitat and cut off the connection between foreshore and upland areas, disrupting ecosystems. The loss of upland vegetation allows contaminants to flow directly into the water and affects water quality. Prime wildlife habitat has disappeared, along with birds, mammals, fish and insects.
Faced with sea level rise, public discourse in our region has to date been focussed on building bigger, better walls. While sea walls and dikes provide protection, they’re very expensive. They result in loss of habitat and community shoreline amenities, can increase wave height by up to 10 times, and negatively affect unprotected, adjacent shorelines. All of these costs and impacts will be greatly magnified with 1 m of sea level rise.
Instead, if we think like a shoreline, can we preserve habitat and community benefits and meet the challenge of rising sea levels with resilience using Green Shores.
Land owners and community partnerships can work together to re-create healthy and functional systems by using the four GS guiding principles:
GS can work for five types of shorelines – boulder/cobble, coastal bluff, estuary/mud flat, sand/gravel and rocky. Using science-based designs, it can dissipate wave energy, reduce storm surge and lessen flooding at the same time that it restores habitats, improves sediment transport processes and creates natural areas. Site specific engineering and assessments are required and it may not work everywhere.
The current program includes a GS rating system (with credits like LEED for Green Buildings), sample bylaw language, and outreach to communities and professionals.
A new study (Lamont et al 2014) indicates that GS provides a significant cost advantage over hard alternatives like sea walls. The cost saving varies from approximately 35 to 75 % of the cost of the hard alternatives and, in all the cases studied, the soft alternatives proved neutral or better opportunities for ecological resilience of the shoreline. The report also demonstrated that “soft shore approaches, as outlined in the Green Shores program, can provide effective flood protection against climate change related sea level rise and related issues.”
While Green Shores has been around since 2005, the benefits for adaption to sea level of 1 metre have only recently been identified. Building on the collective expertise and publications by our team, we identified a new use for an existing tool. This document provides background information and links to documents for further understanding of our RISE submission - Green Shores: A Shoreline and People Friendly Solution. Download here.
This powerpoint demonstrates some of the Green Shores principles using a beach model in a tray. Download here.
Green Shores presents an opportunity to…”engage more residents and communities to get involved in shoreline protection and ‘do away’ with their hard seawalls.” - Local Government
GS was a finalist in the 2010 Real Estate Foundation Land Awards and the GS Gold-Rated project, Jericho Beach Restoration, was a recent winner of the City of Vancouver’s 2014 Urban Design Awards in Landscape, Public Space, and Infrastructure. GS is also referenced in the SLR Adaptation Primer and Preparing for Climate Change – An Implementation Guide for Local Governments.
Our 26 partners recognize the value of GS as it is:
In a new pilot project, “Green Shores for Homes”, four communities (West Vancouver, Powell River, Cowichan Lake, and Thetis Island), will identify barriers and incentives. They will investigate how to shift from valuable, voluntary, individual projects to integrated, community, and possibly sub-regional or regional scale approaches.
Green Shores works. Using it can help Metro Vancouver adapt and thrive while thinking like a shoreline. We envision it as a way to: integrate community processes and provide for improved shoreline governance; improve shoreline health and function; and it has the added potential to increase private and public accessibility and all for less cost! Green Shores: A Shore and People Friendly, Cost Effective Approach – it’s the right choice!
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