We work with local partners to provide guidance and technical assistance to reduce the impacts of erosion while maintaining and improving critical shoreline functions. We provide information, training materials, and assistance to local governments and property owners regarding shoreline stabilization. We also contribute to science and technical studies on shorelines.
What is shoreline stabilization?
Shoreline stabilization includes a wide range of activities carried out at the water’s edge to control erosion, or prepare shorelines for development. Stabilization generally uses hardened structures, built parallel to the shoreline, to protect soils and unstable banks from currents and waves. Stabilization is widespread, occurring on lakes, streams, and marine shorelines. Common stabilization methods include revetments, bulkheads, and seawalls.
Planning guidance for cities and counties
The state's shoreline master program (SMP) guidelines encourage shoreline development practices designed to reduce risk to property and avoid adverse environmental impacts. Locating new development out of erosion-prone areas as much as possible helps reduce the initial need for shoreline stabilization.
Where possible, we encourage soft shoreline stabilization techniques over hard armoring approaches such as revetments, bulkheads, and seawalls. Soft shoreline stabilization uses environmentally-friendly techniques to protect property from shoreline erosion.
By providing policies that reduce erosion risks and by offering our local government partners technical assistance and regulatory guidance, we help communities reduce erosion risks while assuring the long-term protection of state shorelines.
Beach and bluff erosion is widespread throughout the Puget Sound region. While erosion poses risks to properties on beaches and along bluffs, natural erosion processes are important for maintaining beaches and shoreline ecosystems. We provide information about Puget Sound erosion and work with local partners throughout the Sound to develop guidance for development practices along shorelines.
Increased awareness about the adverse impacts associated with conventional shoreline stabilization techniques has boosted interest in new ways to manage shoreline erosion.
Softer approaches can reduce shoreline erosion while protecting the environment. We have technical and planning guidance related to the use of soft shoreline techniques.
Much of our work has been focused on Puget Sound where we’ve worked with other agencies and groups to develop new material for property owners and their contractors.
Many Washington communities are concerned about erosion along their local streams and rivers. We work with other agencies to develop information to help guide shoreline development, including shoreline stabilization measures.
Beaches along Washington’s Pacific Ocean coast are subject to complex erosion patterns at the mouths of Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, changes in the amount of sediment delivered by the Columbia River, and cyclic patterns in waves and storms associated with El Nino.