Puget Sound Beaches

osp1-800Shoreline armoring is thought to be a key factor disrupting natural ecosystem processes in nearshore environments yet there are surprisingly few data documenting actual negative impacts of armoring on the health of Puget Sound. This project involves coordinated and intensive biological, geological, and oceanographic studies at armored and un-armored sites in south-central Puget Sound, emphasizing the linkages between physical processes, organisms, and ecosystems. The objectives of the Sediment Dynamics lab in this study of paired unarmored/armored beaches are 1) to examine the slope, grain size, wave energy relationships of mixed sand and gravel beaches, 2) to evaluate the observable impacts of armoring on geomorphic features of the beach and the relationships, and 3) to provide a baseline database for management of armoring regulations on beaches such as these.

Check out this recent UW News article on the project: First Salish Sea-wide shoreline armoring study shows cumulative effects on ecosystem


Project publications:

Dethier, M.N., Raymond, W.W., McBride, A.N., Toft, J.D., Cordell, J.R., Ogston, A.S., Heerhartz, S.M., Berry, H.D., 2016. Multiscale impacts of armoring on Salish Sea shorelines: Evidence for cumulative and threshold effects. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science, 175, 106–117.

Heerhartz, S.M., Toft, J.D., Cordell, J.R., Dethier, M.N., Ogston, A.S., 2016. Shoreline armoring in an estuary constrains wrack-associated invertebrate communities. Estuaries and Coasts, 39, 171–188.

Heerhartz, S.M., Dethier, M.N., Toft, J.D., Cordell, J.R., Ogston, A.S. (2013) Effects of shoreline armoring on beach wrack subsidies to the nearshore ecotone. Estuaries and Coasts.

Toft, J., Ogston, A., Heerhartz, S., Cordell, J., Flemer, E., (2013) Shoreline enhancements within urban constraints: Biological and physical developments at an armored shoreline in Puget Sound, WA. Ecological Engineering 57: 97-108.