Whidbey restoration project makes a difference, for shore

Salmon, crabs, clams and shorebirds got a happier home recently as DNR’s Aquatic Restoration crews freed up beachhead on southeast shore of Whidbey Island.

Partnering with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, the restoration program removed 440 feet of creosote-treated bulkhead from the Glendale Beach and Waterman Shoreline Preserve north of Clinton. Removal of the bulkhead allows the beach to again move in the free, dynamic way it naturally does. wp_20161004_094

Sediment will be deposited from bluffs above and will be moved along the shoreline by the drift cell. This will improve the habitat of forage fish near the site that make up the base of Puget Sound’s rich and iconic ecosystem.

Removal of the creosote-treated wood also took away a source of contamination. Long used as a wood preservative, creosote contains more than 300 chemicals, some carcinogenic, that can be harmful for developing salmon and fatal to the herring eggs that are laid in eelgrass and tidelands.

Since 2004, DNR has been leading efforts throughout Puget Sound to remove creosote-treated debris and derelict structures from our marine and estuarine waters. These creosote-treated materials continue to leach chemical compounds into beach and marine sediments causing toxic conditions for organisms that live in and use these areas.

WP_20161004_034.jpgThe bulkhead was a remnant of a dock once used to move wood chips from a sawmill on Whidbey Island. It had cut off natural erosion from the bluff, depriving off-shore eelgrass of vital nutrients. DNR works hard to protect eelgrass in Puget Sound, as it is critical to the habitat and development of fish, shellfish, crabs and other species.

Find out more about how DNR is works to restore aquatic environments so they are available for future Washingtonians to use and enjoy here.

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