Tougher rules aim to save salmon habitat for the good of Puget Sound orcas – KUOW

This bill might make it “harder” to build a seawall, but the real question is, “Why do you need a seawall in the first place?” The use of seawalls and other hard shore armoring has been a default position for anyone worried about their property, whether it is needed or not, nor whether it works or not for their problem. Meanwhile, salmon and forage fish habitat (the fish salmon eat) are vanishing before our eyes. With millions more people expected to move to the area in the next decade, this may be one of our only opportunities to push back on rampant seawall useage. It certainly will not end the practice.

It might soon be more difficult to build a seawall on Puget Sound.The state legislature is considering a bill that aims to help southern resident killer whales by protecting shoreline salmon habitat.

Single-family homeowners who want to build a seawall could face a longer permit process under the bill. The Department of Fish and Wildlife would thoroughly review every proposed seawall for its potential effect on salmon habitat.

The bill would also give the agency the authority to issue stop-work orders as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 to property owners who don’t comply with the law.

The latest numbers on shoreline armoring- Puget Sound Institute

Good news!

Washington state has released the latest statistics for Puget Sound’s shoreline armoring Vital Sign, comparing armoring creation and removal in 2017….The numbers, released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Puget Sound Partnership, show that removal of armoring has increased steadily since 2005. At the same time, a study of construction permits showed that new armoring was outpaced by removal in 2014, 2016 and 2017, with 2017 being the strongest year on record for this trend.

Read the whole story here:

Foot by foot, shoreline bulkhead removal outpaces construction – Watching Our Waterways

More good news. And why our work here at the Jefferson County MRC is so important. Shoreline soft shore projects continue to be a core priority of our work.  We have held homeowner workshops in the last year, and funded activities to help homeowners get projects going.

Christopher Dunagan writes: “It’s always nice when I can report a little good news for Puget Sound recovery. For the second year in row, we’ve seen more shoreline bulkheads ripped out than new ones put in. After officials with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife completed their compilation of permit data for 2015, I can say that 3,097 feet of old armoring were removed, while 2,231 feet were added….” (Watching Our Water Ways)


Costs of Shoring Up Coastal Communities–NY Times

A contentious bit of the Shoreline Master Programs is the continuing calls written into them,  for the end of shoreline armoring. There are many reasons to be in favor of ‘soft armoring’. One is, it really doesn’t work. Here’s another good reason. A lesson written large for us to learn.

For more than a century, for good or ill, New Jersey has led the nation in coastal development. Many of the barrier islands along its coast have long been lined by rock jetties, concrete sea walls or other protective armor. Most of its coastal communities have beaches only because engineers periodically replenish them with sand pumped from offshore. Now much of that sand is gone. Though reports are still preliminary, coastal researchers say that when Hurricane Sandy came ashore, it washed enormous quantities of sand off beaches and into the streets — or even all the way across barrier islands into the bays behind them. But even as these towns clamor for sand, scientists are warning that rising seas will make maintaining artificial beaches prohibitively expensive or simply impossible. Even some advocates of artificial beach nourishment now urge new approaches to the issue, especially in New Jersey.

The debate on Don Flora’s ‘scientific’ letter to the community

A good roundup of the scientific firestorm of Don Flora’s supposedly scientific analysis of shoreline ecology. If you haven’t been reading this, you should read Chris’ overview, and then read Flora’s document and the reply from the scientific community, which are listed at the end of the article.

Another successful soft armoring of a beach

A thorny issue that drives the ‘anti SMP’ crowds these days, especially down in Kitsap County, has been the issue of those of us in the shoreline protection world being against “hard armoring” of the shores.  Here’s a positive bit of news on another success conversion to ‘soft’ armoring of the beach. It can be done folks. Contact People For Puget Sound or your county shoreline groups to find out how you could do it to your beach, if needed.

10/8 Skagit Valley Herald “Soft-armor” project should help restore shoreline by Marta Murvosh ANACORTES — To save a beach, the Samish Indian Nation raced against time to raise money to use 1,982 tons of sand, pea gravel and cobblestone-sized rocks to stabilize a section of the shoreline along Weaverling Spit on Fidalgo Bay. If the restoration project wasn’t funded by this fall, tribal scientists feared the beach would be devoured by winter storms, said Christine Woodward, Samish director of natural resources. Most of the work was completed Monday, and Woodward and her staff saw green and silver surf smelt in the bay nearby. The smelt spawn, which are the prey of salmon, haven’t been able to spawn on that area of the beach for a number of years, she said. Woodward also saw otters playing in gravel. More at

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