Shoreline Stabilization Measures: Spotlight on Puget Sound

Rock Bulkhead Photo by Hugh Shipman
Rock Bulkhead. Photo by Hugh Shipman
The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Guidelines (WAC 173-26-231) specifically address shoreline stabilization measures. Non-structural and structural measures are listed under the principles for shoreline stabilization in WAC 173-26-231 (3)(a)(ii). The measures are organized generally from 'soft' to 'hard'.

The measures in the Guidelines are not explicitly defined. To help fill the gap, summaries of each stabilization measure are provided here, with an emphasis on Puget Sound. Shoreline stabilization measures for the outer coast, lakes, rivers, and streams are not provided.

This guidance does not supersede local definitions, state statute or requirements. When planning, reviewing, and implementing shoreline projects, local government planners must abide by the policies, regulations, and definitions within their local Shoreline Master Program.








Summaries: Shoreline stabilization measures

Each summary (below) briefly describes the shoreline stabilization measure, potential advantages and disadvantages, and alternative terms (if available). A list of technical references is also provided.

Local planners should consider site specifics when choosing the best measure. In some cases, a 'harder' measure may be preferred over a 'softer' measure due to logistical and environmental characteristics of the site. There also may be stabilization measures not listed below that local planners may want to consider.

For more information

Staff contact

Kelsey Gianou
Washington Department of Ecology
Northwest Regional Office
(360) 649-7007