Hugo Neu Corporation Sustainability Series: Living Shorelines in NJ: A Decade of Progress

wind farm

Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering

Speakers: Jon Miller, Laura Kerr and Amy Bredes, Stevens Institute of Technology


In the decade since Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey has made significant progress in encouraging the use of living shorelines. In 2013, New Jersey created a general permit for the purpose of expanding the use of living shorelines projects. The permit was one of the first of its kind in the Northeast and contained a number of provisions intended to encourage consideration of these projects. One of the most important was a provision that allows fill (subject to several constraints) for the purpose of restoring an eroded shoreline and the placement of wave attenuating structures. Also in 2013, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection partnered with Stevens Institute of Technology to create a set of living shoreline engineering guidelines to accompany the permit. The document was one of the first focused on engineering written specifically with the conditions of the Northeast in mind and has served as a template for several subsequent documents. In 2022 this document was updated and a new companion document focused specifically on developed shorelines was created. This presentation will provide an overview of the history of living shoreline projects in New Jersey and some perspectives on their application in a changing climate.


Jon Miller, Research Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering
Jonathan Miller

Dr. Miller is a Research Associate Professor of coastal and ocean engineering in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. Dr. Miller received his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Stevens in 1999 and a Masters and Ph.D. in Coastal Engineering from the University of Florida in 2001, and 2004 respectively. While at Florida, Dr. Miller received a Fulbright Post-doctoral Fellowship to study at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Miller currently serves as the Director of the New Jersey Coastal Protection Technical Assistance Service and the New Jersey Sea Grant Coastal Processes Specialist. In these roles he works with New Jersey’s coastal communities to identify and implement engineering solutions that promote coastal resilience and environmental stewardship. Since 2006, Dr. Miller has worked extensively with state and federal agencies, NGOs, and local communities on living shorelines projects at all stages from conception through design/construction to monitoring/adaptive management.

Laura Kerr, Research Engineer, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering
Laura Kerr smiling

Laura Kerr is a Research Engineer in the Coastal Engineering Research Group at Stevens Institute of Technology. She serves as the Coastal Resilience Specialist for New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and is the co-facilitator of the New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative. After receiving her Masters in Ocean Engineering from Stevens in 1999, Ms Kerr worked for the USGS predominantly on large scale sediment transport field studies followed by several years teaching high school physics and math. Since arriving at Stevens in 2018, Ms Kerr has continued her engagement in field studies of coastal processes with an emphasis on wave attenuation across living shoreline structures while also focussing on the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems in New Jersey. Her current work has included updating the living shoreline engineering guidelines for NJ and creating initial guidance on the use of living shoreline techniques in highly developed regions and synthesizing knowledge on the beneficial use of dredged sediment for saltmarsh restoration to facilitate the successful use of this practice in NJ.

Amy Bredes, Ph.D. candidate, Coastal Engineering Research Group
Amy Bredes outside

Amy Bredes is a PhD Candidate in the Coastal Engineering Research Group at Stevens Institute of Technology. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Upon completion of her M.S. she relocated to Seattle, WA where she worked in environmetal and civil consulting with a focus on contaminated sediment management on CERCLA projects. In 2021 she began her PhD in Dr. Miller’s lab with a focus on living shoreline engineering design and wave attenuation. She is currently funded through USCRP researching the impact of sea level rise on the wave attenuation of living shoreline sills.


Contact Dr. Dibs Sarkar
[email protected]


Visit our website or visit



HUGO NEU Corporation

Geosyntec Consultants

Brown and Caldwell

H2M Architects and Engineers

Catalyst Group