Habitat Improvement

Read about our ongoing habitat improvement work.

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Mar 01


Posted on March 1, 2021 at 9:42 AM by Allan Warren

DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve_Project SummaryAerial view of the DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve. Main project areas outlined in red, including 220 ft of armor on mapped feeder bluff and an additional 380 ft of armor and debris in mapped transport zones. Photo Credit: Washington Dept. of Ecology WA Coastal Atlas.

Shore-Friendly Pierce - 2Pierce Conservation District launched the Shore Friendly Pierce program in 2019 to address the restoration and protection of our local shorelines.

Region-wide, there is a growing understanding of the critical role marine shorelines must play in salmon and orca recovery efforts, and how much of this landscape has been compromised by human activity. Shoreline development, like the addition of hard armor bulkheads, interrupts nearshore processes that allow for the formation of critical habitat areas like eel grass beds, coastal inlets, and estuaries. These habitats are necessary nurseries for juvenile salmon as well as the forage fish that make up the bottom of the food chain. Healthy nearshore environments are as critical to salmon recovery – and therefore orca recovery – as the freshwater rivers and streams where salmon spawn and hatch. With funding through the WA Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, the District is hosting the Shore Friendly program in cooperation with the Thurston and Mason CD’s for an approach that coordinates messaging, outreach, and development of shoreline recovery projects across the South Sound.

The Shore Friendly program engages shoreline landowners through technical and financial assistance programs to be good stewards of their beaches that support the health of our beloved wildlife, such as shellfish, salmon, and Orcas. Across the Puget Sound, over 29% of the shoreline is armored with hard structures like seawalls, bulkheads, and wood pilings – representing a big challenge for healthy beaches. Shore Friendly helps landowners prevent the need for new armor by supporting healthy natural conditions and assists landowners in voluntarily removing unnecessary armor to restore natural functions – one property at a time.


In late 2020 we launched the mini-grant program to support stewardship on Puget Soundhigh tide 1 shorelines. We currently have $14,000 in Shore Friendly Mini-Grant funds to disperse to qualifying landowners in $500-1500 grants, depending on the project type. The program incents stewardship activities including shoreline restoration, armor removal, lawn conversion to native plantings, and drainage improvements that will help protect their property and protect Puget Sound. Interested landowners can request a site visit from the Shore Friendly Pierce program to start the mini-grant process.

Right: Derelict bulkhead on the beach at DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve.

In addition to Shore Friendly work on residential shorelines, PCD is partnering with Peninsula Metropolitan Parks to explore the feasibility of nearshore restoration at their Tacoma DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve property on Fox Island. To support this potential project, PCD entered into a funding agreement with the Pierce County Flood Control Zone District to complete an initial planning study and engage Fox Island residents and the wider Pierce County community in restoration options for the sandspit. These local dollars are being leveraged to secure state funds from the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program and other sources to support this multi-benefit nearshore restoration project.

Interested in learning more about Shore Friendly Pierce? Would you like to request a shoreline site visit?

Contact our Shorelines Program Manager,
Mary Krauszer, at maryk@piercecd.org
or (253) 845-9770 ext. 113