Shore protection works are used to retain or rebuild natural systems (cliffs, dunes, wetlands, and beaches) or to protect man's artifacts (buildings, infrastructure, etc.) landward of the shoreline. Specifically, shore protection contributes to storm damage reduction and coastal erosion mitigation.
Storms cause flooding and wave damage, both of which can harm or destroy coastal property and habitats. Storm protection works reduce the effects of these damages. Storms also create short-term erosional events. Natural recovery after the storm and seasonal fluctuations may not be in balance, which results in long-term erosion. Shore protection projects moderate the long-term average erosion rate of shoreline change from natural and man-made causes. Reduced erosion means a wider sediment buffer zone between the land and the sea, and, consequently, erosion mitigation translates into storm damage reduction from flooding and wave attack.
The Corps uses a number of alternatives for shore protection, including different types of structural responses as well as non-structural ones. Combinations of these alternatives are often used together to achieve the most appropriate shore protection response for a certain coastal area.