Nearshore Restoration Project
Approximately 50 years ago a bulkhead was built along Priest Point Park's northern shore. The privately owned property had an artesian well that served as the fresh water source for the home and therefore needed to be protected from erosion and from being contaminated with saltwater. The bulkhead was impeding the natural beach building processes.
Did you know? Nearly 80% of Budd Inlet’s shoreline has bank armoring structures such as bulkheads that prevent natural erosive processes and deplete beach sediments, while also scouring away native beach sands and gravels.
Cutting off these processes essentially “starves” the shore of natural sands and gravels that provide essential habitat for forage fish, such as surf smelt and sand lance, impacting the food chain for marine life.
Visit Washington Department of Ecology's web page on Puget Sound Shorelines for more information and a diagram of the impact of bulkheads on shorelines.
Today the bulkhead that was once a barrier between the land and sea no longer exists.
In 2012 the City of Olympia partnered with South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) and removed the bulkhead to restore 200 feet of critical habitat along Priest Point Park’s north shore. The project was identified as a priority for salmon recovery in Puget Sound and funding was allocated through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Funding received for this project amounted to $105,000. The total project cost $125,000.
The project included the following:
- Removal of derelict bulkhead and associated beach rubble and debris.
- Decommissioning of artesian well, which is required by law to prevent groundwater contaminatin.
- Restore nearshore conditions by augmenting degraded beach with appropriate gravel substrate.
- Restore riparian function by replanting riparian plant species.
What to expect: The bank will continue to erode, depositing sediment that is essential to restoring habitat. Some of the shoreline trees and vegetation will also errode, this is part of the natural processes. The downed wood will be left to provide shade and nutrients to the beach.
Stewardship: Your help is needed to continue the nearshore restoration efforts. You can adopt an area of the park or drop-in at a staff lead work party. Visit the Park's volunteer web page for more information.