The “Ohio Nature-Based Shoreline Certification Program and Installation at Old Woman Creek” project demonstrates how living shorelines provide sustainable stabilization solutions for Lake Erie.
KS Associates received an Honor Award in the 2024 Engineering Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio (ACEC Ohio). KS Associates’ entry, “Ohio Nature-Based Shoreline Certification Program and Installation at Old Woman Creek,” was recognized for its innovation, complexity, and value to the region and engineering community. KS Associates was the lead engineering consultant for the project, under contract with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Coastal Management.
In this year’s competition, a five-member panel of professional engineers and surveyors judged 25 entries. With a budget of less than $2.5 million, the project is in the running for the Outstanding Small Project Award. The winning small project will be announced at the celebratory awards banquet on March 14, 2024, at Vitria on the Square in Columbus, Ohio.
About the Project:
The erosion, degradation, and loss of coastal habitats is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing Ohio’s Lake Erie coast. In 2020, the ODNR Office of Coastal Management awarded KS Associates a contract to lead the development of an initiative to promote the use of nature-based shorelines. Unlike hard structures, such as stone revetments and concrete seawalls, nature-based shorelines provide opportunities to restore natural structure and function to Lake Erie’s coastal areas.
Coastal engineers at KS led the initiative and developed a comprehensive training program — the first of its kind in Ohio — that certifies practitioners in the design and construction of living shorelines. KS worked closely with ODNR and ecologists at GEI Consulting, Inc.
KS Associates and the team developed the educational program, which includes a 46-page “Ohio Nature-Based Shoreline Certification” manual complete with design examples, guidelines, and specifications for designing and constructing a living shoreline. Once the manual was complete in March 2022, the team held its first in-person training session. The session began with classroom training, giving practitioners in-depth information Ohio’s shoreline and the use of native plantings and natural elements such as coir logs and live fascines.
The first installation took place in June 2022 at the Old Woman Creek State Nature preserve in Huron, Ohio. Lessons learned from the first training program and pilot installation of a living shoreline at Old Woman Creek are being adopted and applied to projects along the shores of Lake Erie, the Great Lakes, and beyond.
The project demonstrates the ability of living shorelines to adapt to dynamic coastal systems, stabilize the shoreline, restore fish and wildlife habitats, and provide much-needed resilient and sustainable stabilization solutions for Lake Erie.
ODNR, in collaboration with Cleveland Metroparks, KS Associates, and GEI Consultants, will hold the second Ohio Nature-Based Shoreline Certification session in 2024. The session includes classroom instruction on March 20-21 and a field installation at Wendy Park on May 14, 2024.