Preventing Puget Sound shoreline erosion

Erosion occurs naturally on most of Puget Sound’s shoreline, shaping coastlines and creating beaches. The typical response to erosion has been the construction of bulkheads and seawalls — the armoring of the shoreline. When designed and sited correctly, such measures can help reduce risks from erosion and storms, but they also impact neighboring properties and harm shoreline ecology. Over time, the construction of these structures can result in the loss of beaches and critical habitats.

We provide information and assistance associated with coastal erosion and shoreline armoring by:

  • Working with local governments to develop regulations that encourage good practices.
  • Educating professionals and property owners about coastal processes and the hazards of building on the shoreline.
  • Collaborating with other agencies and organizations to improve the technical and scientific information on which good decisions are based.

Protecting shorelines

We provide information and assistance on a wide range of shoreline topics related to our beaches and to shoreline stabilization practices. This includes targeted guidance for local governments as well as more general information useful to any shoreline property owner. We collaborate with other agencies to develop technical guidance, provide educational materials, and contribute to scientific research.

One of the educational materials that we've created is the below online tool which shows examples of projects on Puget Sound beaches where soft shoreline techniques were used or hard shoreline armoring was removed.

Click the symbols in the map to learn more about individual projects or view all of our before and after pictures on our Flickr page. (View the full size ArcGis online map.)