Abstract Title

Session S-01G: New Strategies for Shorelines

Proposed Abstract Title

A Pilot Study to Estimate Levels of Unpermitted Construction Activity Along Marine Shoreling in Puget Sound

Presenter/Author Information

Timothy QuinnFollow

Keywords

Shorelines

Location

Room 6C

Start Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 6:30 PM

Description

Armoring is an important stressor along margins of the Salish Sea and found on nearly 30% of Puget Sound marine shorelines. Shoreline armoring can degrade physicochemical, social-cultural, and ecological processes responsible for a myriad of ecosystem goods and services. Shoreline construction that affect the bed or flow of state waters requires a state Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit (and often federal and county permits) designed to minimize environmental impacts. While there have been increasing efforts by county and state governments to determine compliance and effectiveness of permitted shoreline projects, there have been few attempts to determine the extent of unpermitted shoreline construction activity. We surveyed two areas in Puget Sound as part of a pilot study to develop study methods that could estimate the extent and nature of unpermitted shoreline construction; Bainbridge Island, located in central Puget Sound and consisting of approximately 55 miles of shoreline with 1854 parcels and four discrete areas of San Juan County in north Puget Sound totaling 34 miles of shoreline with 694 parcels. We compared current conditions determined by boat survey in late summer 2012 with conditions observed on high resolution 2006-7 oblique aerial photographs, that is, we recorded new construction activities that would require a permit based on expert opinion. For each parcel in which we identified recent construction, we matched the parcel number to an owner and then to permit databases. After this initial matching of permits with parcels, a local state permit biologist further winnowed the list using personal knowledge of the area. We determined that 18 of 81 (22%) parcels with new construction on Bainbridge Island and 18 of 32 (56%) parcels with new construction on the San Juan Islands did not have a HPA permit for that activity, or the HPA permit could not be located. Many unpermitted activities involved bulkhead repair or other relatively minor construction. However, unpermitted construction activity also included one new rock and one new wooden bulkhead on Bainbridge Island and three new rock and three new wooden bulkheads on the San Juan Islands. These results follow on the San Juan Initiative (SJI) Study in 2007 - 08 that found more than 200 parcels with shoreline armoring but only 9 County and 12 HPA permits for those parcels. Authors of the SJI presumed that much of the armoring was done before shoreline permits were required or that that their findings resulted from poor record keeping. This pilot study suggests that unpermitted shoreline construction may still be an issue in Puget Sound.

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May 1st, 5:00 PM May 1st, 6:30 PM

A Pilot Study to Estimate Levels of Unpermitted Construction Activity Along Marine Shoreling in Puget Sound

Room 6C

Armoring is an important stressor along margins of the Salish Sea and found on nearly 30% of Puget Sound marine shorelines. Shoreline armoring can degrade physicochemical, social-cultural, and ecological processes responsible for a myriad of ecosystem goods and services. Shoreline construction that affect the bed or flow of state waters requires a state Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit (and often federal and county permits) designed to minimize environmental impacts. While there have been increasing efforts by county and state governments to determine compliance and effectiveness of permitted shoreline projects, there have been few attempts to determine the extent of unpermitted shoreline construction activity. We surveyed two areas in Puget Sound as part of a pilot study to develop study methods that could estimate the extent and nature of unpermitted shoreline construction; Bainbridge Island, located in central Puget Sound and consisting of approximately 55 miles of shoreline with 1854 parcels and four discrete areas of San Juan County in north Puget Sound totaling 34 miles of shoreline with 694 parcels. We compared current conditions determined by boat survey in late summer 2012 with conditions observed on high resolution 2006-7 oblique aerial photographs, that is, we recorded new construction activities that would require a permit based on expert opinion. For each parcel in which we identified recent construction, we matched the parcel number to an owner and then to permit databases. After this initial matching of permits with parcels, a local state permit biologist further winnowed the list using personal knowledge of the area. We determined that 18 of 81 (22%) parcels with new construction on Bainbridge Island and 18 of 32 (56%) parcels with new construction on the San Juan Islands did not have a HPA permit for that activity, or the HPA permit could not be located. Many unpermitted activities involved bulkhead repair or other relatively minor construction. However, unpermitted construction activity also included one new rock and one new wooden bulkhead on Bainbridge Island and three new rock and three new wooden bulkheads on the San Juan Islands. These results follow on the San Juan Initiative (SJI) Study in 2007 - 08 that found more than 200 parcels with shoreline armoring but only 9 County and 12 HPA permits for those parcels. Authors of the SJI presumed that much of the armoring was done before shoreline permits were required or that that their findings resulted from poor record keeping. This pilot study suggests that unpermitted shoreline construction may still be an issue in Puget Sound.