What Should I Know?
Factors that can increase beach erosion:
- Increased wave action due to armor on neighboring property
- Removal of beach vegetation
- Onsite beach armoring causing scouring
On beaches, native plants and drift logs help dissipate wave energy. Without the interference of bulkheads and seawalls, beaches will usually erode gradually but will also be replenished by sand and sediment from nearby bluffs and beaches. This process provides healthy habitat for species ranging from insects to salmon to orcas.
Ironically, bulkheads can lead to more rapid erosion of beaches in some cases. While these structures can provide some erosion protection on your property, they contribute to overall beach loss by reducing the sediment supply. And when waves reflect off a bulkhead, they scour the area at its base and on adjoining beaches. Over time, an entire stretch of beach will become coarser, with less sediment and more gravel. The bulkhead could also eventually crack, tilt, or collapse.
What Should I Do?
You can reduce erosion risk on your beach by following proven management practices—such as ensuring that rainwater and roof runoff are diverted away from slopes, leaving trees and vegetation intact, adding native plantings, and building stairs and trails in a way that allows for natural erosion but doesn’t aggravate it.
A qualified coastal professional can evaluate erosion risk on your beach and suggest measures you can take to protect your property.
- Divert rainwater and runoff away from slopes
- Leave native trees and vegetation intact
- Add native plantings
- Build stairs and trails to allow for natural erosion
- Remove native trees and vegetation
- Build trails straight down to the beach