Alternatives to Bulkheads  
For sites that truly need erosion control, there may be "softer" alternatives to bulkheads that reduce erosion while protecting or restoring shoreline habitat.
  • Set Your Home Back
    If you are planning to build, set your home as far back from the water as possible. This will help prevent erosion concerns and expenses for bulkheads, seawalls, and other shoreline armoring.
  • Beach Nourishment
    In some situations, sand and gravel can be brought in to replenish beaches.
  • Biotechnical Methods
    Slopes can be stabilized using "biotechnical methods." Plants may be used to reinforce soil, serve as water drains, act as erosion prevention barriers, and absorb excess water from soils.
  • Adding Drift Logs
    Adding drift logs to the beach can provide habitat and may help reduce erosion.
    Related Topics

    Bulkheads and Change, Bulkheads can change the beach.
    Bulkheads, Bulkheads can increase erosion.
    Understanding Erosion, Looking at land loss.
    Landscaping, Low cost, easy care plant management.

    Related Links

    Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Anyone planning certain construction projects or activities in or near state waters, including bulkheads, must obtain an environmental permit commonly known as an HPA. Find information on how to apply.

    Hydraulic Code Rules on Bulkheads, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. These Hydraulic Code Rules apply to the construction of bulkheads for single-family residences on saltwater shores (WAC 220-660-370).

    "The Tide Doesn't Go Out Anymore," The Effect of Bulkheads on Urban Bay Shorelines, Scott L. Douglass and Bradley H. Pickel, University of South Alabama (1999). How bulkheads erode beaches and destroy intertidal ecology.     

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