State of Our Watersheds: Shoreline armoring outpaces restoration

One and a half miles of shoreline was armored while only a third of a mile was restored near the mouth of the Nisqually River between 2005 and 2014.

This negative salmon habitat trend is a finding in the State of Our Watersheds Report, recently released by the treaty tribes in western Washington.

From the report:

From 2005-2014, 329 Hydraulic Project Approvals (HPAs) were issued in Pierce and Thurston counties resulting in an additional 1.5 miles of armored shoreline and the removal of 0.3 miles of armoring, resulting in a net increase of 1.2 miles.

Construction of bulkheads and other types of hard shoreline armoring, groins, and docks reduce the amount of suitable habitat for juvenile salmon rearing and forage fish spawning. Armoring also affects salmon by reducing prey density, increasing predation and changing migration patterns that cause a decline in growth and lower survival rates. Shoreline modification also starves the beach of new sediment that is crucial to maintain a healthy and diverse ecosystem.