Shore Friendly 


Shoreline Erosion

While shoreline erosion can be a challenge, it is also a natural process that ensures the health of our marine ecosystems. The Northwest Straits Foundation has many resources to assist shoreline landowners in making decisions about how to maintain and protect their property from erosion without compromising ecosystem functionality. Our Shore Friendly Landowner Outreach program can help you assess your shoreline property.

This program features free workshops, site assessments, bulkhead and shoreline armor removal assistance and more. At our workshops, learn how to manage your landscape for slope stability and wildlife habitat, and how planting native vegetation can help manage erosion and drainage on shoreline properties.


What is shoreline armor?

Shoreline armor are physical structures, such as seawalls or riprap, used to attempt to slow down coastal erosion. Well made structures can last up to 50 years, but others will crack or fall apart much sooner sue to pressure and slides from the slope behind them and the impact of waves and drift logs. The beach in front of a bulkhead is also continually scoured by deflected waves, which can expose the base of the bulkhead and lead it to sink or fail. All of these challenges will likely be worsened by rising sea levels due to climate change.

Benefits of Bulkhead Removal

The benefits of bulkhead or other bank armoring removal include:

  • Easier access to the beach. You no longer must climb over unstable riprap or jump off a wall to get to the beach.
  • More beach will be available at higher tides.
  • Natural shorelines enhance the beauty of your property.
  • Increased habitat for forage fish.
  • Increased habitat for other marine and upland organisms.

Conventional, hard methods (e.g., bulkhead, seawall, revetment, and rockery) disrupt natural ecosystems and tend to be difficult to permit and expensive to install. Hard structures can often be replaced with soft methods or removed completely to restore natural processes.

There are many benefits to bulkhead removal. So, what are you waiting for? Get your property assessed today.

linear feet of shoreline restored

Shore Friendly Living

Video Series


The Northwest Straits Foundation is proud to present “Shore Friendly Living”, a video series that takes a dive into all of the subjects we cover in our “Shore Friendly” workshops. From geology and physical processes, to shoreline armoring and post-restoration monitoring; this video series will educate you on all the many elements of our Shore Friendly program.

Our newest episode takes a look at the bigger picture of the marine ecosystem by showing the connection between all of the species that use the shoreline, and how bulkheads, or other forms of shoreline armoring, disrupt that ecological balance.

We hope you enjoy this educational video series. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes.


Shore Friendly Living

Educational Workshop for Shoreline Property Owners

Enjoy this recording of an educational workshop for shoreline landowners conducted in San Juan County on March 16th, 2024. Topics covered in this workshop include shoreline habitat, coastal processes, climate change and sea level rise, hard armoring on the shoreline, soft shore protection, vegetation, and resources for landowners.

This workshop is a part of the Northwest Straits Foundation’s Shore Friendly program and is funded wholly or in part by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program.

Sunlight Shores Restoration Project

Northwest Straits Foundation, Sunlight Shores Country Club and Island County Marine Resources Committee are partners on the Sunlight Shores nearshore restoration project. In fall 2018, 350 linear feet of shoreline and 0.25 acres of nearshore habitat were restored within Useless Bay, Whidbey Island. Watch the videos below to see aerial views of the site before and after restoration.



Northwest Straits Foundation
1155 N State St Ste 400
Bellingham WA 98225
(360) 733-1725