Draft shoreline armoring strategy now available for public comment

Former feeder bluff with sediment impounded by armoring. Photo by Hugh Shipman.

Former feeder bluff with sediment impounded by armoring. Photo by Hugh Shipman.

A group led by two state agencies is asking for public comment on a draft strategy for removing hundreds of miles of seawalls and other structures along Puget Sound’s shoreline.

More than 27% — or about 675 miles — of Puget Sound’s shoreline is covered with anti-erosion structures known as shoreline armoring that scientists say diminish food and habitat for salmon and other species.

The EPA-funded strategy was developed by a group led by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Partners in the effort include the Puget Sound Partnership, the Puget Sound Institute, and an interdisciplinary team of experts.

The Puget Sound Partnership has named shoreline armoring one of its ‘Vital Signs’ for Puget Sound health, and the state has set a target of removing more armoring than the amount constructed during the period 2011 to 2020. Progress toward reaching that target has so far been slow — declines in armoring have only occurred since 2014 and have been measured in mere feet per year — but the “Shoreline Armoring Implementation Strategy” as it is dubbed is an effort to accelerate the process. A draft of the strategy will be available for public review and comment from October 30 through November 30. For more information, visit the interagency Implementation Strategy website.

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