With approximately 200 miles of shoreline surrounded by marine waters, Island County has the 2nd 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 67% are unarmored. 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.
Island County successfully secured funding through the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program, a partnership of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington State Department of Natural Resources, to implement a project: Incentives to Reduce Shoreline Armoring in Island County. This project supports the Island Local Integrating Organization's priority
Near Term Action "preventing any further hard armoring on Island County shorelines."
The project's purpose is to influence Island County shoreline residents who have natural shorelines as well as those who have armored shorelines and are considering repair/replacement to adopt a "Shore Friendly protection" approach. Island County Natural Resources is utilizing 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, and consultants. Providing 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 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 protection 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.
For more information on the regional Shore Friendly program, visit ShoreFriendly.org.