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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Release: February 28, 2011
Rick Dinicola

Guy Gelfenbaum

Puget Shoreline Armoring "State of the Science"

[Editors: The report mentioned below is available at]

TACOMA, Wash. -- Local and national science experts have compiled a "state of the science" summary of information about the effects of shoreline armoring on Puget Sound to help shoreline communities make good decisions, published in a report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Bulkheads, seawalls, and other armoring structures protect shoreline properties from damage and loss due to erosion. Armoring can also affect the nearshore habitat that is so important to restoring and preserving the health of Puget Sound.

The effects of armoring on shorelines are complex, and communities facing difficult decisions about regulating shoreline activities and prioritizing restoration projects need to have the best science available. To address these needs, a scientific workshop was held May 16-19, 2009, that brought together 38 local and national scientists to review the state of the science regarding the physical and biological impacts of armoring on the sheltered shorelines of Puget Sound. The workshop produced 22 scientific papers that are presented in the USGS report.

Puget Sound, the second largest estuary in the United States, has roughly 2,500 miles of sheltered coastline, with about one-third of the shoreline armored. An increasing regional population and a rise in sea-level will likely increase the amount of armored shoreline.

The report, "Puget Sound Shorelines and the Impacts of Armoring--Proceedings of a State of the Science Workshop, May 2009," edited by H. Shipman, M.N. Dethier, G. Gelfenbaum, K.L. Fresh, and R.S. Dinicola, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5254 and is available on the Web at .

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