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Sep 04

New Shorelines Program to Address Marine Environment

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 9:01 AM by Allan Warren

Cover Option 1We’re excited to launch and announce our new Shore Friendly Pierce program! Program staff, including our new Shorelines Program Manager, Mary Krauszer, are already out doing site visits and ready to start providing technical assistance to shoreline property owners. So reach out and let us know if you’re interested in making your property Shore Friendly!

In 1999, the Pierce Conservation District reacted to the Endangered Species Act listing of local salmon populations by undertaking a countywide inventory of fish passage blockages, secured funding to repair some of these blockages, acquired key properties along salmon rich South Prairie Creek, and stepped up riparian restoration efforts. Last year, as the plight of the Southern Resident Killer Whales became more dire, the District spearheaded a Puget Sound-wide call to action for those concerned about this iconic population of marine mammals. Now a statewide event, Orca Recovery Day continues to educate and inspire citizens to support actions and policies to bring our killer whales back to health.

Mixed in with the emotion and sense of purpose around salmon and orca recovery efforts is a growing understanding of the critical role nearshore environments play, and how much of this landscape has been compromised by human activity. Shoreline development, like the addition of hard armor bulkheads, interrupts nearshore processes that allow for the formation of critical habitat areas like eel grass beds, pocket beaches, and estuaries. These habitats are necessary nurseries for juvenile salmon as well as the forage fish that make up the bottom of the food chain. Healthy nearshore environments are as critical to salmon recovery – and therefore Orca recovery – as the freshwater rivers and streams where salmon spawn and hatch.

Pierce Conservation District is proud to announce the launch of the Shore Friendly PierceCover Option 2 program to address the restoration and protection of our local shorelines. With funding through the WA Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, the District is developing the Shore Friendly program in cooperation with the Thurston and Mason CD’s for an approach that coordinates messaging, outreach, and development of shoreline recovery projects.

The Shore Friendly Pierce program is designed to provide marine shoreline landowners with technical assistance on a spectrum of natural resource concerns, from using native plants for erosion control, to healthy tree pruning to provide view corridors. Ultimately, the goal of the Shore Friendly program is to utilize soft shore techniques in lieu of hard armored bulkheads in an effort to return natural process to the nearshore environment, aid in salmon and orca recovery efforts, and improve landowners’ enjoyment of their shorelines.

Interested in learning more about Shore Friendly Pierce? Would you like to request a shoreline site visit? Contact our new Shorelines Program Manager, Mary Krauszer, at maryk@piercecd.org or (253) 845-9770 ext. 113.

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