Living Shoreline Cost Share Program

Living shorelines can protect and enhance the beauty of shoreline properties. The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship provides cost share assistance for installing living shorelines and stabilization projects.

A shoreline of green. healthy grass between the upland and a water body, protected by a low line of stones.

Living shorelines use natural materials like native plants, oyster shells and biodegradable coconut-fiber logs as a barrier to defend against shoreline erosion and flood impacts.

The Living Shoreline Cost Share Program (LSCSP) is available to landowners, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) or community boards in many watersheds in Delaware.

Program Offerings

Potential projects will vary in structure and need. Some projects may require simple grading or minor wetland grass planting. Other projects may require major installations such as coir fiber logs or many types of plant species.

Since each site is different, an approved project plan, and state permits, are required from the landowner. For eligible project sites, the program provides:

  • Review of project design for program criteria
  • Assistance with the understanding program criteria and permitting process
  • Reimbursement of a percentage of project costs to landowner upon completion
  • Opportunities to conduct citizen monitoring
  • Annual maintenance checks for five years after the project is completed
A map showing which watersheds in Delaware are eligible for the Living Shoreline Cost Share Program.

Eligibility and Types of Projects

The Living Shoreline Cost Share Program Guidelines provide in-depth information for project criteria, design types, and financial assistance.

Eligible projects are located within the targeted watersheds shown on the map on this page. Only projects for shorelines in tidal portions of watersheds are eligible for cost share.

Cost share funds come from two sources: nonpoint source pollution grants made possible through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act and Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grants from the EPA.

Some watersheds (shown in blue on the map) are eligible for grants from either program. Some (shown in green) are only eligible for Section 319 grants.

There are two tiers of grant types.

Tier one grants will go to individual landowners for individual properties.

Tier two grants will go to groups of landowners, homeowner’s associations or community boards where properties are adjacent or in shared neighborhood spaces. Find more details in the Program Guidelines.

Not sure what watershed you live in? Find your watershed here.

Available Financial Assistance

Financial assistance depends on the size of the project and the watershed location. Funding tiers by program and project type are listed in the guidelines along with an example of how reimbursement works.

Chesapeake Bay
319 Program
Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 1 Tier 2
Project Cost $21,000 $21,000 $19,000 $38,000
Reimbursement $13,000 $13,000 $11,000 $22,000

The “Project Cost” is the minimum amount that is spent on eligible expenses for the project. The “Reimbursement” is the maximum amount the cost share program will reimburse. Actual reimbursement will be a percentage of the eligible expenses.

The cost share program does not cover expenses that are unrelated to the installation or design of the project, such as non-native plants or lighting.

How to Apply

Begin by filling out the landowner inquiry form and contacting an experienced professional in living shoreline construction.

Information submitted on the inquiry form will be reviewed by DNREC staff for appropriateness and sustainability. Staff may contact the landowner to suggest changes needed for approval. The landowner or consultant must apply for any needed state permits. The landowner will enter into a cost-share agreement with DNREC.

Reimbursements are issued after construction is complete and the state has inspected the project.

For more information, please contact Kayla Clauson at or 302-739-9939.