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Most living shorelines fall under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Zone Management Rules (CZM). These rules define the term “living shoreline,” establish requirements for their location and construction, present a hierarchy of shoreline protection options from vegetation to hard armoring, and offer several means of authorizing the construction of a living shoreline.


Available General Permits:


While not referring to living shorelines directly, some very minor projects may be authorized under general permit 17, stabilization of eroded shorelines. To be authorized under this permit, the project must be for the stabilization of an eroded shoreline along tidal waterways, excluding the Atlantic Ocean. Stabilization materials are limited to natural materials, such as plant materials, live stakes, or coir fiber products. No adverse impact to special areas (those areas listed in N.J.A.C. 7:7-9) can occur and, no disturbance to wetlands is allowed. See the CZM  Rules for all applicable requirements.


While some living shorelines can meet the requirements of general permit 17, most will not be able to fall within those provisions. However, general permit 24, at N.J.A.C. 7:7-6.24, was specially crafted to authorize habitat creation, restoration, enhancement, and living shoreline activities.

Regulations & Permits



• There is no application fee for general permit 24 to encourage these environmentally beneficial activities.


• The living shoreline must be designed and/or sponsored by the Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or Federal resource agencies or otherwise implemented by a college or university for research purposes.


• Living shorelines must be designed to protect, restore, or enhance a habitat.


• Generally, up to one acre of disturbance below the mean high water line is allowed.


• Projects must disturb the minimum amount of special areas necessary (minimized disturbance to special areas is allowed).


• The project cannot exceed the footprint of the shoreline as it appears on the applicable Tidelands Map except for a structural component intended to reduce wave energy (for example, a breakwater or artificial reef). This means that a project could potentially restore the area of the shoreline up to where the shoreline was located at the time of the Tidelands Map base map photography (1977/1978).


See the CZM Rules for all requirements.



Contact PCM:

Email: Phone: (609).633.2201  Fax: (609).292.4608



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Last Updated: January 10, 2019