Event Title

Necessary integration of geologic information into shoreline policies

Presentation Abstract

A recent round of grant funding from the U.S. EPA, administered by the WDFW, and awarded to several Puget Sound-adjacent counties and one conservation district, resulted in the launching of five “Shore Friendly” programs around the region. One of those, the Mason Conservation District’s “Shore Friendly Mason” program, fields requests for technical assistance from landowners with shoreline erosion concerns. The erosion is typically assumed by the landowner to be wave-induced and is a common trigger for shoreline armor permit requests. The Shore Friendly Mason technical team found that a sizeable percentage of sites with unstable bluffs or banks had symptoms of broader hydrogeologic instability. Review of high-resolution lidar imagery, geologic mapping, and water-well data, in conjunction with site visits conducted to evaluate drainage infrastructure, vegetation management, and other land-use practices, highlight the frequency of upland causes of instability. At several sites, the unstable low bank defined the toe of a deep-seated landslide. Discussions with shoreline planners elsewhere in Puget Sound reveal similar landowner misperceptions and permitting challenges surrounding hydrogeologic processes. The number of sites showcasing these concerns speak to the need for increased availability of geologic tools to inform the public, development/permit processes, and geotechnical reporting. Identified hurdles include gaps in landslide mapping coverage, funding uncertainties, challenges of transferring GIS-based geologic and landslide data into user-friendly jurisdictional planning tools, and restructuring Critical Areas Ordinances and Shoreline Management Plans to incorporate new data. Urgency to overcome these hurdles increases with growing development pressures and potential liabilities associated with geologic hazard areas. Collaboration with staff in several Puget Sound counties is underway to improve geologic information accessibility and develop methods for incorporating it into planning and permitting policies and public education. Stakeholder advisory groups and 3rd-party geotechnical peer review pools would further benefit this effort.

Session Title

Posters: Habitat Restoration & Protection

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-84

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Necessary integration of geologic information into shoreline policies

A recent round of grant funding from the U.S. EPA, administered by the WDFW, and awarded to several Puget Sound-adjacent counties and one conservation district, resulted in the launching of five “Shore Friendly” programs around the region. One of those, the Mason Conservation District’s “Shore Friendly Mason” program, fields requests for technical assistance from landowners with shoreline erosion concerns. The erosion is typically assumed by the landowner to be wave-induced and is a common trigger for shoreline armor permit requests. The Shore Friendly Mason technical team found that a sizeable percentage of sites with unstable bluffs or banks had symptoms of broader hydrogeologic instability. Review of high-resolution lidar imagery, geologic mapping, and water-well data, in conjunction with site visits conducted to evaluate drainage infrastructure, vegetation management, and other land-use practices, highlight the frequency of upland causes of instability. At several sites, the unstable low bank defined the toe of a deep-seated landslide. Discussions with shoreline planners elsewhere in Puget Sound reveal similar landowner misperceptions and permitting challenges surrounding hydrogeologic processes. The number of sites showcasing these concerns speak to the need for increased availability of geologic tools to inform the public, development/permit processes, and geotechnical reporting. Identified hurdles include gaps in landslide mapping coverage, funding uncertainties, challenges of transferring GIS-based geologic and landslide data into user-friendly jurisdictional planning tools, and restructuring Critical Areas Ordinances and Shoreline Management Plans to incorporate new data. Urgency to overcome these hurdles increases with growing development pressures and potential liabilities associated with geologic hazard areas. Collaboration with staff in several Puget Sound counties is underway to improve geologic information accessibility and develop methods for incorporating it into planning and permitting policies and public education. Stakeholder advisory groups and 3rd-party geotechnical peer review pools would further benefit this effort.