Puget Sound Feeder Bluffs: Coastal erosion as a sediment source and its implications for shoreline management

Hugh Shipman, Andrea MacLennan, and Jim Johannessen
Posted on: 7/31/2019 - Updated on: 7/31/2019

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Beaches make up about 1400 miles of Puget Sound’s 2500-mile shoreline. They are an important component of the region’s coastal environment and support a broad range of ecological functions, from spawning habitat for forage fish to the formation of estuaries and salt marshes. These beaches are complex geological systems that respond to changes in the availability of sediment and its transport along the coast. On Puget Sound, some of the sand and gravel on the beaches may come from streams and rivers, but much of it is derived from erosion of coastal bluffs. 

In this report, we investigate the geologic characteristics that influence the formation and evolution of Puget Sound beaches. This project is intended to increase understanding of the role and distribution of feeder bluffs on Puget Sound. This should lead to improved policies for managing coastal bluffs and nearshore ecosystems, more generally. It may help funding agencies and local groups target key shorelines for protection and conservation efforts.