Jeffrey Cordell, UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Megan Dethier, UW Friday Harbor Laboratories
Emily Howe, UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Jason Toft, UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
Local officials, state resource managers and conscientious property owners have shown growing enthusiasm for removing bulkheads to restore natural shorelines and shore habitats. The Puget Sound Partnership’s 2014/15 Action Agenda identifies shoreline armoring as a significant threat and restoration as a main strategic goal. But monitoring of restoration sites has been scattershot and piecemeal. We still do not fully understand what ecological benefits bulkhead removal confers, or how such an understanding might inform future management. This study addresses that shortfall in two ways. First, it analyzes data gathered before and after de-armoring various sites, seeking common threads and inferring what results can be expected from new removals. Second, it assesses physical and biological conditions, from slope and sediments to the insects and “beach hoppers” that sustain young salmon and seabirds, at 10 clusters of three beaches around Puget Sound—one armored, one restored with armoring removed, and one unaltered reference beach.