Ways for home owners on the Puget Sound to be more environmentally friendly
The Puget Sound has 1,332 miles of coastline not including the San Juan islands or the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Much of the water and coastline is occupied by home owners but it is also occupied by hundreds of different species of fish, birds, and marine mammals. With the growing population and infrastructure in Washington state it is important that we take in to consideration our neighbors in and around the water. This is a summery of King Counties' Puget Sound Shoreline Stewardship Guidebook. If you would like a more in-depth guide you can follow the link below.
Understand geology and erosion. Undeveloped land allows rain water to naturally be absorbed. Having a plan to manage runoff when landscaping or developing your property can help slow the erosion of the shoreline and prevents oils and toxins from washing into the Sound.
Explore your options. Consult a geologist and a habitat biologist prior to construction and removal of native plants. A geologist can help you determine different hazards and characteristics of the land you are building on or altering. A habitat biologist can help by telling you ways you can stabilize the shoreline and decrease runoff with your landscaping plan.
Manage runoff. Anywhere large amounts of water can escape to the shoreline need to be addressed. Common culprits are: large patios and driveways, downspouts, irrigation systems, and properties that have boat launches.
Maintain and restore native habitat. Natural vegetation has been doing its job for a very long time so consider allowing native plants to continue to grow on your property. They prevent over saturation of the soil and also provide a habitat for the local wildlife.
clear exotic and invasive plants. Home owners who have non native plants need to be very cautious and ensure that they are not exotic or invasive before planting. For assistance identifying and combating exotic and invasive plants contact Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board 206-872-2972
Re-establish natural shoreline contour and materials. Bulkheads are not always the best solution depending on what type of property you have and depending on the situation a natural shoreline may be the best option for your property and the local habitat. Check for local permitting requirements before changing any shoreline structure or vegetation.
Protect water quality. Small changes like finding eco friendly soap for washing your car or disposing of pet waste in a trash can can make a big difference for the environment.
Follow regulations and obtain permits. Before starting any construction or making landscape changes to your property make sure to call your local permitting department.
Enjoy what you are saving. We live in one of the most diversified states and by making small changes in your day to day life you can help maintain the beauty that Washington has to offer.