Northwest Straits Foundation, Skagit County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), Washington State Parks, and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group partnered to restore 540 linear feet of shoreline and 0.60 acres of beach at Bowman Bay in Deception Pass State Park. Bowman Bay, a 2,100 foot long pocket beach, is located on the southwest shore of Fidalgo Island within Skagit County, WA.
Bowman Bay has been documented by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) as surf smelt spawning grounds and by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as critical and essential habitat for foraging and migration bull trout. Bowman Bay is also extensively used by juvenile salmon.
The area has a long history of work by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s and 1940’s and was armored prior to the 1970’s to protect a fish hatchery and marine biology station operated by the Washington Department of Fisheries (now Fish and Wildlife) since 1947. In 2006, the armor was damaged in a storm and was repaired in early 2011. The bulkhead consisted of approximately 2,050 tons of armor stone and quarry spall that interrupted shoreline processes and disrupted potential habitat for fish such as surf smelt, juvenile salmon, and bull trout.
This project is designed to restore natural erosion and sediment transport along and across the shoreline creating a viable habitat for juvenile salmon and bull trout migration, and forage fish spawning. The project removed the rock armoring, regraded the beach to match the natural contour, added beach nourishment material suitable for forage fish spawning, and substantially enhanced riparian vegetation.
Pre and post-construction monitoring is being performed by Salish Sea Steward citizen scientists and WDFW to determine what changes in habitat and habitat usage have occurred. Monitoring parameters include forage fish spawning surveys, nearshore fish use, large woody debris and wrack accumulation, sediment composition, elevation surveys, insect fallout, and surface epifauna and algae surveys. Interested volunteers are encouraged to get involved!
Project funding was provided by: Puget Sound Marine & Nearshore Grant Program, US EPA, WDFW’s Estuary Salmon Restoration Program, Northwest Straits Commission/Skagit MRC, Puget Sound Partnership, and the Alcoa Foundation. Additional in-kind support was provided by Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Puget Sound Corps.
This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement PC-00J90707 through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The contents of this document does not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
Click here for the Bowman Bay Restoration Fact Sheet.