Location: Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Collaborators: US Environmental Protection Agency, Massachusetts Audubon Society (Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary), and Oak Bluffs and Edgartown Shellfish Constables
Goal: Examine the social feasibility of nature-based approaches for salt marsh restoration in a high energy coastal environment.
Significance: The results will allow managers to determine whether this type of approach is socially scalable in addition to being ecologically successful for mitigating coastal erosion and eutrophication.
Background: Coastal ecosystems provide numerous services including nutrient cycling and shoreline protection. Many human activities, however, are destroying and degrading coastal habitats. Among the most pervasive drivers of habitat loss along many coastlines has been the armoring of shorelines with bulkheads and similar gray infrastructure. These activities are typically implemented to address concerns of coastal erosion or to achieve socially desirable outcomes (e.g., docking, navigation). In contrast, living shoreline approaches, which often involve vegetation and shellfish plantings, can be deployed to restore or enhance multiple ecosystem services. There are questions, however, about how personal values and engagement with the restoration process influence definitions of success and support.