I have a natural shoreline - what are my options

Your natural shoreline plays a critical role in Puget Sound by supporting habitat not only for forage fish - but for the greater Puget Sound food chain on which we all depend. Maintaining a natural waterfront is one of the best things you can do for Puget Sound.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

Natural (Unmodified) Shorelines Make a Difference

Shoreline erosion is a natural coastal process and a familiar experience for those living along the waterfront.  Many Puget Sound homeowners know that erosion contributes the sediment which builds our beaches - a basic part of shoreline living.  Despite this knowledge, erosion can be a cause of concern when you're not sure what's going on.

Are you worried about erosion along your waterfront?  The causes of erosion are very site-specific and are best understood with a site visit. We can help assess what’s happening and offer specific guidance so you avoid contributing to erosion problems.  How you manage water and vegetation on your property makes a huge difference to erosion rates and slope or bluff stability.  In cases where erosion is a serious problem, we can talk about the various options available to stabilize your shoreline - and protect the Puget Sound.

Did you know that over 66 miles of Pierce County shoreline provide crucial habitat for forage fish?  

Unfortunately, 70% has shoreline armor, which degrades these beaches.*  

Why does this matter?  Forage fish are a critical food source for Puget Sound salmon species . . . the same salmon that feed us, feed visiting Orca whales, and feed many other amazing Puget Sound creatures.  

* Shoreline Parcel Report available at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/grants/ps_marine_nearshore/results_products.html

The good news is that the best waterfront management options are often the least expensive.

Doing nothing at all is often the best choice for sites with very slow erosion rates.  There are also times when steps should be taken to address the causes of erosion, particularly when upland drainage management or vegetation management are contributing.  We can offer site-appropriate guidance for actions like adding the right plants to stabilize your bank, or managing stormwater so it doesn't destabilize a slope.  Very often, simple, inexpensive steps for slowing erosion back to normal rates are the best choice for a shoreline property.

Pickleweed

HOW CAN I BE SURE I AM NOT CONTRIBUTING TO EROSION PROBLEMS? 

Are you confident about managing water and plants on your waterfront?  Do you need to do something about erosion right now?  Set up a site visit with one of Pierce Conservation District's shoreline specialists to receive site-appropriate recommendations.

On the resources page you will find helpful documents as well as links to other great resources. 

Additional Resources

IF EROSION IS SEVERE, WHAT ARE MY BEST OPTIONS? IS A BULKHEAD MY ONLY CHOICE? 

If you feel that your home is at risk of damage from a landslide or severe erosion, contact a coastal engineer or licensed geologist immediately to address your concerns.

If you are facing non-threatening shoreline erosion and would like to understand what is happening, and what you can do - contact us for an assessment.  

How can I be sure Im not contributing to erosion
Is a bulkhead my only choice

IN CASES WHERE EROSION IS SEVERE ENOUGH TO WARRANT ACTION, IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW YOUR OPTIONS.  CONSIDER YOUR ALTERNATIVES BEFORE INSTALLING A CONVENTIONAL BULKHEAD. 

Examples of bulkhead alternatives

Free waterfront assessments

Free Erosion AND Waterfront Assessments

Pierce Conservation District offers free, non-regulatory,
site-specific guidance to help you manage your waterfront with confidence.

SET UP A SITE VISIT