Living Shoreline at Hollywood on the Severn

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Hi! My name is Ben Fertig, I’m the Restoration Manager at Severn River Association (SRA). My job is to help communities improve their local environment and restore the Severn River. Good communication is really important to me. So I’ve put together this page to let you know about what’s happening with the living shoreline project in Hollywood-on-Severn. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know! My email is 

Click on any picture to make it bigger or to download.

I really want your input and feedback on the project (see Project Summary below). Right now, while the project is still in its early stages, is the best opportunity to make sure to get it right. Please let me know what you think.  As we get closer to a finished design, there will be less wiggle room to make changes. Once the design is 100% complete, it will be locked in and we won’t be able to make changes.

SRA is a 501c3 non-profit organization with experience and success at pursuing funding and project management for pollution reduction and environmental restoration. Our vision is a thriving Severn River by 2050, and our mission is to connect the people who live, work, and play on the Severn River to restore and protect it for all of our communities. 

Project Origin

SRA and Hollywood-on-Severn Improvement Association (HOSIA) are partnering together. HOSIA’s bulkhead by the communal gathering area is failing and it will need to be repaired or replaced. HOSIA contacted SRA to inquire about the feasibility of replacing the bulkhead with a living shoreline on this community property. SRA conducted a site visit with a number of HOSIA board and community members and discussed the process of design, permitting, implementation (construction) and maintenance. HOSIA has decided to work with SRA and that SRA will seek funding and serve as project manager, supervising contractors. More information about living shorelines is below. 

Living Shorelines

Living shorelines create open spaces along a river’s shoreline, mimicking Mother Nature’s natural defenses against erosion. Living shorelines can solve typical erosion problems found on the Severn River. Their design not only protects the shoreline and cliffs from storm and powerboat wave energy, but also rebuilds the natural sandy shoreline that is greatly affected due to storms, rising sea level, and wave energy.

Project Environmental Benefits

  • Maintain protection of communal gathering space from erosion, boat wakes etc.
  • Living shorelines can dampen the energy of wave action from storms and powerboat wakes, deflecting it away from the shore. 
  • They collect sandy material as it drifts along the shoreline and deposit it within the area to be protected.
  • Living shorelines are a natural defense against erosion and a cost effective way to protect it.
  • Decrease harmful effects of flooding
  • Decreased nutrient & sediment pollution in the Severn – smaller and fewer ‘dead zones’ (maybe we even get rid of them altogether!)
  • Native plants will attract pollinators (birds, butterflies, bats and bees)
  • Increased biodiversity
  • Stronger, more resilient environment
  • Provide wildlife habitat

Project Summary

The primary goal of the project is to replace a failing bulkhead with a living shoreline to increase rates of denitrification – a natural pollution reduction process – that occurs in salt marshes and to decrease rates of erosion to help improve water quality in the Severn River. Currently, the Severn River has been declared “impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act for these nitrogen, phosphorus, sediments and other pollutants. A second goal is to increase habitat and native species biodiversity, and create additional spawning and nursery grounds for juvenile turtles, fish, oysters, as well as native pollinators (birds, butterflies, bees and bats). A third critically important goal is to continue protecting communal gathering space, small boat (kayak) water access, a dock and power craft access and other important community infrastructure. Lastly, the fourth goal is to continue achieving all of the previous three goals in the face of rising sea levels associated with climate change.

SRA will work with HOSIA to further define project goals and desired outcomes. Further SRA and HOSIA will solicit and select a contractor to design the living shoreline. 

SRA is seeking funding for this project through the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) Watershed Assistance Grant Program (WAGP). SRA will create an RFP and solicit contractor bids for this project according to the federal procurement procedures as required by the grant program. Funding could be awarded in full, in part, or not at all. If unsuccessful, SRA will look for other sources of funding to design, permit, and build these projects, like Maryland Department of Natural Resources Grants Gateway and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Small Watershed Grants program. A ‘no’ is not final or forever.

Project Design

SRA wants to make sure that the project is something that the community will enjoy (in addition to all the great environmental benefits). Keep in mind that, as with so many things in life, there are trade-offs to consider. We want to understand what you value so the project will reflect those values. So, right now we want your feedback, especially while the project is still in its early stages. Now is the best opportunity to make sure to get it right. Please let me know what you think. You can email me any time, 


  • October 2023 – SRA met with HOSIA for a site visit and discuss project potential and funding possibilities and process
  • November 2023 – HOSIA decided to work with SRA as project manager and provided temporary access to SRA and (potential) contractors for project design. 
  • December 2023 – community meeting with SRA
  • December 2024 – SRA will submit proposal to CBT for living shoreline design and permitting
  • March 2025 – hear if proposal is funded. If funded, design work begins. If not, identify alternative funding source
  • November 2025 – design work completed, permit applications, begin writing proposal for construction funding
  • March 2026 – proposal submission for construction funding
  • July 2026 – hear if construction is funded, if so, construction begins
  • September 2026 – construction completed, SRA responsible for maintenance for 5 years
  • September 2031 – maintenance responsibility transfers to HOSIA

Ways You Can Help!

Community support is critical to a successful grant proposal. Specifically, there are several ways you can choose to support this project. Any and all are appreciated! 

  1. You can allow SRA and/or its contractors to access a site via your property 
  2. You can pledge to help volunteer with planting and/or maintaining native plants as part of the project’s installation.
  3. You can install a rain barrel or rain garden to capture and slow down stormwater coming off your roof.
  4. Other …. There are lots of ways to be involved. If you have an idea or want to discuss, please reach out!

If you are interested in participating in any of the ways above, please reach out to SRA’s Restoration Manager, Ben Fertig: 

Community Questions & Concerns

​​Let SRA know your thoughts about the project. We will update this section with how these will be addressed.


Check out the google photo album for photos of the sites. Photos will be added to track the progress. 


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None to date