Shore Friendly Program

Island County Natshore friendly Opens in new windowural Resources secured funding through the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington State Department of Natural Resources) to implement landowner incentives to reduce Puget Sound shoreline armoring in Island County. This project supports the Island Local Intergrating Organization's prioiry near-term action "preventing any further hard armoring on Island County shorelines."

The aim of this project is to promote alternative strategies for shoreline residential properties that provide both the use and enjoyment of the property while promoting and maintaining the ecological properties of nearshore ecosystems for the support of fish and wildlife.

With approximately 196 miles of shoreline surrounded by marine waters, Island County has the second highest percentage of shoreline parcels in Puget Sound. The nearshore and coastal estuaries provide critical shelter, refuge, food and physiological refuge for juvenile salmon as they transition from river to ocean stages of their life. Island County shorelines also have the second greatest portion of Sound-wide forage fish spawning parcels, of which 70% are unarmored. 

The program’s purpose is to influence Island County shoreline residents who have natural shorelines in place or those who have armored shoreline and are considering repair or replacement to adopt a “shore-friendly protection” approach.  ICDNR will utilize the regional social marketing behavior change strategy model to implement a program to build understanding and develop consistent messaging about Shore Friendly practices among County staff, realtors, consultants, and environmental educators. Providing cost incentives for choosing shore-friendly alternatives to armoring along with efficient, consistent and streamlined permit review for shore-friendly permitting will ensure a better experience for shoreline homeowners, thereby removing a significant barrier to adopting the preferred behavior of adopting shore-friendly protection methods.

The long-term objectives for this project are to:  

  1. Employ research-based incentives to motivate shoreline homeowners to commit to preserving the beauty and value of natural beaches by considering softer armoring alternatives, and;
  2. Create a culture in Island County where shoreline homeowners  enjoy the natural beach environment and embrace protecting ecosystem health of Island County beaches and Puget Sound.

Elements of the project:

Permitting Incentive for Soft Shore Alternatives – ICDNR will work with Island County Community Planning and Development (ICCP&D) staff to identify barriers to shoreline permitting process efficiencies and develop a streamlined permitting process to incentivize soft shore alternatives. 

Financial Incentive for Soft Shore Alternatives - Compensation for professional engineer services for permitting assistance to landowners and to review and approve shoreline armoring permits needing verification.

Influencer Audience Training – ICDNR will facilitate training for realtors who serve Island County, contractors who construct armoring in Island County, and ICCP&D on soft-shore protection and Shore Friendly incentives.  This will include up to 8 trainings during grant 2-year period.  ICDNR will host Shore Friendly Workshops to educate realtors, contractors, and ICP&CD staff.

Implement a shore-friendly social marketing campaign – ICDNR will model the regional social marketing behavior change strategy (Social Marketing Strategy to Reduce Puget Sound Shoreline Armoring) to develop and implement a social marketing program for Island County. The project proposes to incorporate the Washington State University (WSU) Extension Office Shore Stewards Program which currently serves approximately 800 Island County landowners with outreach on shoreline living. Outreach to new shoreline property owners through Shore Friendly New Homeowner Visits and Packets to encourage natural, unarmored shorelines as the social norm and reinforce the attitude of pride around having an unarmored shoreline, where applicable. We will utilize the influencer audiences (Realtors & WSU Shore Stewards) to distribute shore friendly new homeowner packets to new property owners within a month after they purchase their property.  

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