Historically, many river shorelines were stabilized and hardened with concrete and steel to protect developments from flooding and erosion, or to accommodate commercial navigation or industry. Typically shorelines were developed for a single purpose. Today, there is growing interest in developing shorelines for multiple purposes so that additional benefits can be accrued. Soft engineering is the use of ecological principles and practices to reduce erosion and achieve the stabilization and safety of shorelines, while enhancing habitat, improving aesthetics, and saving money. The purpose of this best management practices manual is to provide insights and technical advice to local governments, developers, planners, consultants, and industries on when, where, why, and how to incorporate soft engineering of shorelines into shoreline redevelopment projects and reap subsequent benefits. More specific technical advice and contact information can be found in the soft engineering case studies presented in this manual.
Caulk, Andrew D.; Gannon, John E.; Shaw, John R.; and Hartig, John H.. (2000). Best Management Practices for Soft Engineering of Shorelines.