Conservation Corner

Apr 13


The original item was published from April 13, 2020 8:49 AM to April 13, 2020 9:10 AM

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In Fall 2019 Pierce Conservation District launched the Shore Friendly Pierce program to address the restoration and protection of our local shorelines. With funding through the WA Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, our Shore Friendly program joins forces with Thurston and Mason CDs for an approach that coordinates messaging, outreach, and development of shoreline recovery projects. Our three South Sound
ABOVE: Failing seawalls, such as this one at Demolay Sandspit Nature Preserve on Fox Island, present tremendous opportunity to raise the grade of shoreline habitat throughout Puget Sound. Through support from the Pierce County Flood Control District, National Estuary Program, and Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, we are working to remove this ~700 foot seawall and working with willing shoreline landowners throughout the county to do the same. 
CDs join a regional effort to implement Shore Friendly programs across the entire sound, from the San Juan Islands to Olympia.

The Shore Friendly Pierce program kicked off outreach efforts at PCD’s 2019 Orca RecoveryDay event on Fox Island, to emphasize the connection between healthy nearshore habitats and orca recovery. After hands-on restoration work on with a hillside planting and scattering native gumweed seeds on the beach, participants took a shoreline tour to see the contrasts between a failing concrete bulkhead and healthy “natural bulkheads” formed by shoreline trees and shrubs that stabilize sediment while maintaining the connection between terrestrial and marine environments.

Our continuing outreach to shoreline landowners in the county has focused in the Key Peninsula and Gig Harbor areas where the majority of the Pierce County’s residential shoreline parcels are located. Our new Shorelines Program Manager is providing marine shorelineShoreline Numbers landowners with technical assistance on a spectrum of natural resource concerns, from using native plants for erosion control, to healthy tree pruning to provide view corridors. Ultimately, the goal of the Shore Friendly program is to utilize soft shore techniques in lieu of hard armored bulkheads in an effort to return natural process to the nearshore environment, aid in salmon and orca recovery efforts, and improve landowners’ enjoyment of their shorelines. 

Habitat Restoration and Knotweed Treatment
In 2019, PCD’s Habitat Improvement team worked with landowners, partners, and citizen volunteers to improve just under 4.5 acres of habitat from the shores of American Lake and Hales Pass to the communities of Orting and South Prairie in east Pierce County. Almost 5,100 native trees and shrubs were installed at 8 different locations. Thanks to our Washington Conservation Corps crews and the many volunteers who made all this planting possible!
 Knotweed by the numbers

KW 3LEFT: Members of the knotweed treatment crew – Tricia (left), Kaytlyn (right) working on Mineral Creek in the Nisqually Watershed. 

BELOW: Dead canes show previous knotweed treatment on town property in Steilacoom. Small sprouts in the foreground underscore the importance of annual treatment.
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