State of Our Watersheds: Altered Shorelines in Port Gamble Bay, Hood Canal

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe is concerned about threatened salmon habitat in Puget Sound.

The tribe explores the threat in the 2016 State of Our Watersheds report.

The tribe is concerned about the amount of shoreline that has been altered in its overall focus area (Clallam, Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties), of which nearly 50 percent already has been modified or armored.

On a regional scale, from 2005 to 2014, data from the Hydraulic Project Approval database shows an increase of nearly four miles of armoring in all four counties.

Shoreline alterations such as jetties and rockwalls interrupt the flow of sand on beaches. Docks and bulkheads cover beaches, preventing plant life and fish species from being productive.

In Port Gamble Bay, a productive area for salmonids and forage fish, 74 percent of the shoreline has been altered through human activity. Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project data from 2008 was used to calculate this area, but funding has been cut to continue this type of monitoring.

Meanwhile, part of the shoreline area around Port Gamble Bay has some significant forested area upland of the bay that is not developed. This remaining natural portion of the shoreline along the bay is doing well because it has not yet been developed.  Consequently, significant wooded bluffs remain in tact and contribute sediment to the spit at Point Julia, the tribe’s home, and provides large woody structures in the nearshore and creates shade for out-migrating salmon.