How Complicated is Permitting a Living Shoreline? It Depends!

Living shoreline plant installation during site visit, March 2023 Panhandle course. Photo credit: Shelley Alexander

“It Depends”

Have you ever asked a question about permitting along a shoreline and heard the answer “Well, it depends”? Well, it does! It depends on whether the land or water jurisdiction is private, state, or federally managed.

Furthermore, it depends upon how far offshore your project extends. A sense of overwhelm can quickly arise as one tries to figure out which permit application is necessary and to which agency it needs to be submitted, in some occasions, it can be more than one agency.

Was that regulatory, proprietary, or federal – or all three?! One simple step to remember is that regulatory agents, whether local, state, or federal, are available to assist you with a pre-application meeting. These meetings can help you organize plans and address concerns that might otherwise stall a living shoreline project.

Partners in Permitting

As mentioned in our first blog, Partners for Living Shorelines: A Thank You to Colleagues and Course Participants, the FSG Living Shoreline Program is all about partnerships. A current example of this is the Florida Sea Grant and National Estuary Research Reserve (NERR) collaboration that will host Living Shoreline Permitting Workshops across the state…and even extend into Alabama. The workshop is being offered free of charge through the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant partnership (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) and the Gulf of Mexico Alliance-funded “Understanding and Navigating Living Shorelines Permitting“ project.

As permitting is the backbone of living shoreline installations and maintenance, this half-day course intends to expand the reach and depth of permitting knowledge while taking the fear out of the process. This workshop is open to anyone with a basic knowledge of living shorelines.

Permitting USACE regulator Jacob Zehnder instructing during February 2023 – North Indian River Lagoon course. Photo credit: Mandy Baily

Past Living Shorelines for Marine Contractors course participants are primed for this workshop. There will be some basic background about permitting terms and types, but the time allotted will go to a level deeper than a typical overview of permitting.

The main in-person session will be broadcast to six satellite locations across the state (and eastern Alabama) from the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus. After the main broadcast (9 am to 11:30 am), each satellite location will offer additional time with federal, state, and/or local regulators and Sea Grant or NERR agents to address location-specific considerations. Of course, the FSG Living Shoreline Team and our regulator colleagues always recommend a pre-application meeting with your regional regulators to discuss the exact details of your situation.

Interested in registering for a Living Shoreline Permitting Workshop on July 12, 2023?

University of Florida Campus, Gainesville (broadcast session)
Host/instructors: Savanna Barry, Florida Sea Grant; Janice Price, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Zachary Schang, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Sarasota County (Sarasota County Operations Center)
Host/instructors: Armando Ubeda, Florida Sea Grant; John Fellows, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Shanell Bosch, Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Howard Berna, Sarasota County Environmental Permitting

Martin County (UF IFAS Extension Martin County, Stuart)
Host/instructors: Vincent Encomio, Florida Sea Grant; Jacob Zehnder, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Danielle Sattleberger, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Weeks Bay NERR (Fairhope, AL)
Host/instructors: Rick O’Connor, Florida Sea Grant; Johanna Gertsch, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources / National Estuarine Research Reserve; Holly Millsap, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR (Ponte Vedra Beach)
Host: Kaitlyn Dietz, Florida Department of Environmental Protection / National Estuarine Research Reserve; Kathryn Craver, Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Tracy Sanders, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Kimberly Mann, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Rookery Bay NERR (Naples)
Host: Marissa Figueroa, Florida Department of Environmental Protection / National Estuarine Research Reserve; Regulators TBA

Apalachicola NERR (Eastpoint)
Host: Anita Grove, Florida Department of Environmental Protection / National Estuarine Research Reserve, Regulators TBA

What to Bring

Your interest in diving deep into the world of permitting living shorelines! If you are the kind of person who likes to follow along on your own screen, you may find it helpful to bring a laptop or tablet as we will provide electronic copies of several resources. However this is not required. Please see individual registration links above for more information on location-specific details.