Habitat Improvement

Read about our ongoing habitat improvement work.

View All Posts

May 29


Posted on May 29, 2020 at 11:57 AM by Allan Warren

Shorelines_Chambers Bay Park_Photo by Mary KrauszerFind more tips for monitoring your shoreline at Piercecd.org/ShoreFriendlyPierce or contact our Shorelines Program Manager to learn more about how you can help protect your property and protect Puget Sound. Email Mary at maryk@piercecd.org.

Living on the waterfront offers many benefits and some challenges as well. The marine shoreline is a naturally dynamic place where change is to be expected. Understanding your typical coastal processes is an important part of identifying potential problems and protecting our shared natural resources. These tips offer some easy ways to start monitoring your shoreline this summer to help you protect your property and Puget Sound.

  1. Check drainage outputs Test your drainage system for leaks by running water through the system during the dry season. Confirm that the amount of water going in equals the amount coming out. Check corrugated pipe even more frequently, as it is prone to failures and cracks as it ages. Check your hose bibs regularly for leaks. Fix any drainage issues immediately.
  2. Take site photos Choose a few “photo-monitoring” points, at least one of which is on the beach looking toward the land. Choose stable locations that are easy to find again, so that you can return several times a year to take pictures. It is also very helpful to take pictures after any major weather or erosion events. Annotate photos with dates and important features.
  3. Check and maintain your septic system The septic tank liquid level should be near the top unless you have had it pumped. Low levels in your tank may indicate that your tank is cracked or leaking into the soil. Be sure your drain field is functioning properly; wet areas during dry periods could indicate problems that need to be addressed immediately.
  4. Check for water level changes in swimming pools, water features, and drinking water wells Keep an eye on water depth in your well (measure this at the same time each year to check for sudden, unexplained changes in water level). When working with your drinking water well, be sure to follow all protocols provided by the WA State Department of Health - Drinking Water (publication No. 331-428), to protect your water. 
  5. Watch for seeps and springs in your bank during all seasons Take special note of NEW seeps, springs or saturated ground in areas that have not typically been wet before. Again, determine if the seeps or leaks are related to your water features, drainage system(s), or land use practices. 
  6. Watch for unexpected plants that are taking over Invasive plants can move in and crowd out native plants that would otherwise offer many benefits, including stabilizing your shoreline and providing habitat for local wildlife. On the shoreline, invasive vines like Himalayan blackberry or English ivy can cover slopes and obscure issues. Make note of new weeds, even outside of landscaped areas. Contact us for shoreline weed removal best practices.
Find more tips for monitoring your shoreline at Piercecd.org/ShoreFriendlyPierce or contact our Shorelines Program Manager to learn more about how you can help protect your property and protect Puget Sound. Email Mary at maryk@piercecd.org.