Shoreline stabilization video highlighting approaches property owners can use to protect shorelines while also promoting a healthy ecosystem.

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Local video highlights 'soft' shoreline stabilization approaches



We have integrated an interesting new video into our web content about shoreline stabilization.

The video, produced by Island County’s Shore Friendly program, highlights different approaches property owners in the region can use to protect and enjoy their shorelines while also promoting a healthy ecosystem.

The video features local Island County residents and Hugh Shipman, our coastal geologist, sharing information about the environmental, recreational, and aesthetic benefits of natural and restored beaches.

Many property owners control shoreline erosion or prepare for development by using bulkheads, seawalls, revetment, and other hardened structures on the water’s edge to protect soils and unstable banks from currents and waves.

Hardened structures are common along many of the 2,500 miles of marine shoreline in Puget Sound. They are also frequently used along the shorelines of our inland streams, rivers, and lakes across the state.

Soft shore protection is the process of designing natural materials such as gravel, sand, logs, or roots in such a way to protect a shoreline from erosion. Beaches with soft shore protection generally look more like natural beaches, as opposed to hard armoring which gives beaches more of a "blunt" look, while providing easier access to the beach for recreation and further protecting the Puget Sound ecosystem.  

Our shoreline master program (SMP) guidelines also encourage shoreline development practices designed to reduce risk to property and avoid adverse environmental impacts. We help communities reduce erosion risks while ensuring the long-term protection of state shorelines by: 
 
  • Providing policies that reduce erosion risks.

  • Offering our local government partners technical assistance and regulatory guidance.

  • Encouraging environmentally-friendly soft shoreline stabilization techniques over hard armoring approaches such as revetments, bulkheads, and seawalls.

  • Helping our local partners locate new development out of erosion-prone areas as much as possible.

The goal of the county’s Shore Friendly project is to promote alternative strategies for shoreline residential properties that provide for the use and enjoyment of the property while promoting and maintaining nearshore ecosystems to support fish and wildlife.


Island County has developed a host of educational materials to help residents learn about their options for protecting their shoreline homes and properties by considering natural beach and soft shore options including a cost benefit analysis, the soft shore permitting process, and a set of frequently asked questions.

We also have a number of guides and publications designed to help shoreline property owners manage surface and groundwater drainage on coastal bluffs, use vegetation to stabilize erosion on slopes, and a vegetation management guide for Puget Sound bluff property owners.

Watch Island County’s Shore Friendly video for ideas and more information about using natural solutions to protect state shorelines.