Pierce Conservation District (PCD) is partnering with PenMet Parks to envision a shoreline restoration project at the Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve on Fox Island.
This project would address up to 600 feet of failing bulkhead on the beach using methods that will benefit public shoreline access, as well as the health of Puget Sound. Removal of this failing shoreline armor would reconnect marine riparian vegetation and restore sediment processes that support the sandspit. This restoration would enhance habitat for critical species including forage fish, Puget Sound Chinook, and eelgrass beds, while improving beach access for recreation.
As a public preserve with residential neighbors, this project requires a comprehensive planning process that carefully considers site feasibility and engages project stakeholders to develop, evaluate, and select project alternatives.
To support the planning processes, PCD secured funding from the Pierce County Flood Control Zone District and WDFW's Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program. We hosted two community meetings during 2021 to engage Fox Island and district residents and target user groups. Using feedback from these communities meetings, as well as extensive site assessments conducted by qualified consultants, our engineering team produced three conceptual design options in 2021. In 2022, PenMet Parks staff and leadership selected a concept to develop into a preliminary design. The preliminary design was completed in June 2023 and presented to the PenMet Parks board in the fall of 2023. We are working closely with PenMet Parks staff to identify funding to continue to move the project forward.
Phase 1: Feasibility Study, Conceptual Design Options, Community Meetings and Stakeholder Engagement –
During 2020, PCD secured funding from the Pierce County Flood Control Zone District (PCFCZD) to complete Phase 1, which produced conceptual design options by the end of 2021. PCD contracted with Blue Coast Engineering to prepare a feasibility study and alternatives analysis to develop conceptual design options with the input from the public and stakeholders. Conceptual designs considered site conditions, including 1) adjacent residential armor, 2) public uses of the Preserve, and 3) site geology, ecology, and sediment processes impacting the shoreline.
Phase 2: Preliminary Design and Preparation for Permitting
In July 2021, PCD secured funding from the WDFW Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program (ESRP) to develop the preferred concept into a preliminary design. The preferred concept was selected by PenMet Parks staff and leadership. The preliminary design and permit materials for this concept were completed in June 2023.
Phase 3: Permitting and Final Design
PCD is working closely with PenMet Parks staff to identify funding to complete Phase 3.