Your Marine Waterfront: A guide to protecting your property while promoting healthy shorelines


Published: February 2016

Pages: 48

This booklet provides waterfront property owners tools for understanding causes of shoreline erosion and options for addressing erosion. Providing options allows property owners to be an active part in keeping Puget Sound healthy and enjoyable for generations to come. This easy-to-follow illustrated booklet serves as a foundation for conversations with design and permitting professionals, and even with neighbors, as you learn about options and how your choices influence the shoreline's ability to support a variety of wildlife and fish species. 

Many existing structures, such as bulkheads or hard armor, were installed before we understood the value of the upper beach and backshore for fish and wildlife. Hard armor was often installed in areas where it is ineffective or unnecessary. Reducing the amount of hard armor, or removing it completely, provides an opportunity to regain beach habitat and improve natural shoreline function. In areas where removal is not feasible, alternatives to traditional "hard" armoring structures exist and can be equally effective in managing erosion, while enhancing beach habitat for fish and wildlife species.

This section helps the reader identify the types, locations, and causes of erosion occurring at a site. This information helps you to determine if action is required, and if so, which approaches will be the most effective. As structures reach the end of their functional life span, property owners have an opportunity to consider the purpose and need for those structures while ensuring that any replacement or removal is compatible with the environment.

This section describes several different techniques to consider.  The techniques range in complexity and cost; some projects may be simple and inexpensive while others may require lengthy permitting and design processes. Depending on site conditions, leaving the shoreline natural or with minimal interventions, including proper drainage and vegetation, will be sufficient to protect property and keep the beach healthy.

This section includes information on permitting, links to other resources, a listing of native marine shoreline plant species, and before and after project photos.


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** Concepts presented in this booklet come from the Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines (MSDG) technical document which is part of the Aquatic Habitat Guidelines series.**

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