Thurston Conservation District’s Shore Friendly Thurston program is designed to connect waterfront residents of Thurston County with the technical support and resources to make informed, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly decisions about their shorelines.  We offer free, non-regulatory site visits and assessments to help you identify problems or opportunities specific to your stretch of the shoreline. Our goal is to give you the tools to make the most cost effective, safe, and environmentally friendly decisions for your shoreline.

Top Five Recommendations for Shorelines

  1. Prune for Views Keep your trees and create views by pruning rather than clearing the trees. A forested shoreline will help with stormwater management, stabilizing slopes, and contribute to the health of the Puget Sound. A TCD Habitat Specialist can work with you to develop a tree pruning strategy that works for both your views and your erosion control and safety needs. TCD technical staff can also help you navigate regulations that might exists for the protection of critical areas such as steep slopes and shorelines.>  Trees and Views: Tree Management and Pruning (Mason Conservation District)
  2. Retain Vegetation and “Re-Forest” Your Shoreline Retaining and adding plants to your shoreline is your first line of defense against erosion and landslides.
    Roots and leaves help to absorb the impact from rainfall and waves. Retain your shoreline vegetation to stabilize slopes, help manage runoff, and protect wildlife habitat. Wherever feasible, add native plants that provide cheap, effective, natural shoreline stabilization. Manage your upland so it doesn’t contribute to erosion issues. Clearing vegetation and creating large waterfront lawns can sometimes lead to unintended problems.>  Vegetation Management: A Guide for Puget Sound Bluff Owners (WA Department of Ecology)
  3. Manage your Water Careful water management is one of the most important things you can do to protect your shoreline.
    Seek professional help to design an appropriate drainage system when one is needed. In the best case scenario, leave your site as natural as possible and limit your contribution to drainage runoff. Check for and repair leaks every rainy season!>  Surface Water and Groundwater on Coastal Bluffs: A Guide for Puget Sound Property Owners (WA Department of Ecology)
  4. Develop a New Waterfront Parcel with Care Purchasing and developing a piece of waterfront property involves a significant investment. Thoughtful development can protect your investment and minimize stressful situations such as landslides and erosion changes that put a new home at risk.
    Basic considerations include:
    –  Seek expert guidance prior to locating your new home
    –  Exceed the minimum setback for construction established by the County; even if you qualify for a reduced setback from the shore, opt for the full setback to avoid future problems.
    –  Expect erosion and plan ahead for it before building
    –  During construction, identify and protect plants are providing existing slope stabilization and controlling for runoff.
    –  Understand permit requirements and regulations before starting your project
  5. Seek Expert Guidance Slope or bluff instability, drainage problems, and landslides can pose a huge risk to your property and home. If you have concerns about your property, contact a licensed coastal engineer or geologist to address these issues.
    To explore armoring or bulkhead removal or soft shore stabilization options, contact coastal engineering or consulting firms or regional fisheries groups such as the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, landscape architecture firms such as Sound Native Plants, or Thurston CD technical staff.> How to know when to hire a consultant handout (Adapted from Mason Conservation District)

What are your concerns?

Check out our Resources & Publications for shoreline specific guides and publications.