Yes, there are bulkhead alternatives and they are being used more and more often around Puget Sound. When deciding how you will respond to erosion on your waterfront, you will want answers to the following questions...
- First, are you certain that you truly need to do something?
- Is erosion posing a direct risk to your home, or is it part of the natural process of coastal change and something you can live with?
- Why is erosion happening? Is it natural or is it caused by vegetation and drainage management practices?
- Is it possible to change upland management before modifying your shoreline? This could be a significantly less expensive and less complex process - as well as better for your property and for the overall health of the Puget Sound.
Before you make a decision, seek unbiased guidance from a shoreline professional - not just a bulkhead installer. When possible, consult several coastal professionals before you decide how to respond to erosion on the waterfront.
If an intervention is necessary to protect a critical structure such as your home, you will also want to find out if bulkhead alternatives are feasible for your specific property. Site conditions will determine the options available for your unique section of the marine shoreline. Characteristics such as bluff conditions, bank height, exposure to open water and wind energy, the surrounding shoreline context, upland conditions, and many other factors determine which options make sense for stabilizing a shoreline. Again, seek unbiased professional guidance before making a decision. Learn about the alternatives, their appropriateness for your site, and the timeline involved. Taking time to learn all you can may save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
See examples of alternatives, or soft shore stabilization projects HERE