Following a public comment and external review period, the EPA-funded Habitat Strategic Initiative team has officially released a Shoreline Armoring Implementation Strategy, which aims to reduce shoreline armoring in Puget Sound. The team developed the strategy in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Puget Sound Partnership, Puget Sound Institute, and an Interdisciplinary Team of experts. Shoreline armoring such as bulkheads and seawalls interrupts natural beach function and reduces food for salmon and other species across more than 27% of Puget Sound’s shoreline. The state […]
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 […]
By Jeff Rice, Puget Sound Institute Communities across Puget Sound must consider salmon-safe alternatives to shoreline armoring or risk losing their flood insurance, according to requirements established by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. The requirements stem from a Biological Opinion issued by NOAA in 2008 finding that shoreline armoring and other development in the floodplain (so-called “Special Flood Hazard Areas”) can damage critical salmon habitat. The opinion protects threatened Chinook salmon, Hood Canal summer chum and endangered Southern Resident killer whales which rely on Chinook for much of their food. […]
Can we really wait 700 years to remove all of the armoring along Puget Sound’s shoreline? Let’s do some of the math. Senior Writer Christopher Dunagan reports in Salish Sea Currents this week that armor removal now exceeds new creation by somewhat less than a mile per year. At first glance, that’s a good thing. It is a reversal in a 100-year trend that has added more than 700 miles of bulkheads and other anti-erosion structures to Puget Sound beaches. It happened for the first time in modern memory in 2014 and the trend continued […]
KUOW interviewed PSI’s Aimee Kinney today about the impacts of shoreline armoring on the Puget Sound ecosystem. Kinney was the lead author of an analysis report of recent nearshore studies funded by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. New studies reveal that shoreline armoring degrades beach ecology and hurts Puget Sound species like forage fish and salmon. Read the analysis report on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
For more than a hundred years, property owners have seen shoreline erosion as the enemy. They have battled it with startling amounts of concrete and have lashed together so many protective beach structures that about a third of Puget Sound’s shoreline is now classified as armored. It’s a fitting term for this longstanding battle against the elements. But it turns out that in many cases erosion is actually a good thing—crucial, according to scientists— because it provides the sand and gravel needed for healthy beaches. Now environmental agencies are encouraging […]
Our series on shoreline armoring continues today with two new stories. Studies show that a significant number of shoreline structures are being built illegally without required permits. We also report on efforts to educate shoreline property owners about alternatives to environmentally-damaging concrete bulkheads. Read these stories and others from the series in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
Our online magazine Salish Sea Currents launches a six-story series today focusing on shoreline armoring in the Puget Sound region. Close to a third of Puget Sound’s shoreline is classified as armored with bulkheads and other structures meant to hold back storm surge and erosion. But new studies reveal the often significant toll this is taking on the environment. The series kicks off with a look at armoring’s impact on beach ecology and forage fish habitat. Read the series on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound.
Last year, we reported on an exciting trend related to shoreline armoring in Puget Sound. For the first time, state agencies actually noted a decrease in new armoring in which removal of these controversial beach structures outpaced new permits for development. That was good news for state and federal agencies trying to reverse more than 100 years of near constant development along Puget Sound’s shoreline. Armoring such as seawalls, bulkheads, revetments and the like is meant to protect beaches and property from erosion, but increasingly, the science shows that such structures harm […]