Bowman Bay beach area to be closed for several weeks
OLYMPIA – October 23, 2015 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces that a significant shoreline restoration and public access improvement project in Deception Pass State Park is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Oct. 27.
State Parks is partnering with Northwest Straits Foundation and Skagit County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) to restore 540 linear feet and nearly one acre of shoreline in Bowman Bay. During the project, public access to the beach area will be closed for approximately three weeks. Construction is expected to be completed by Nov. 18.
Restoring the beach at Bowman Bay involves three key components
- Removing the stone and boulder riprap bulkhead (or “armoring”).
- Re-grading the beach with a sand and gravel mix appropriate for surf smelt spawning habitat.
- Planting the backshore with native vegetation.
“This project is a big win-win-win,” said Jay Lind, chair of the Skagit MRC and Vice President of the Northwest Straits Foundation. “It will make it easier for people to get to the water, it will uncover important beach habitat for surf smelt spawning, and it will increase food for juvenile salmon and marine birds.”
Removing the old riprap and re-grading the beach will require the use of heavy equipment, such as dump trucks and excavators. For public safety reasons, access to the beach area will be closed at Rosario Road. Trails into the beach from other areas also will be closed, with signage posted informing the public about the closure.
“When the project is completed, the public will be able to see this stretch of beach return to what it looked like 70, even 700, years ago,” said Jack Hartt, manager of Deception Pass State Park. “This has been my dream for 40 years.”
The beach at Bowman Bay was armored using stone riprap more than a half a century ago to protect a fish hatchery and marine biology station once operated by the Washington Department of Fisheries (now Department of Fish and Wildlife). In 2006, the armoring was damaged in a storm, and it was repaired in early 2011. The current bulkhead consists of approximately 2,050 tons of armor stone and quarry spall. Bulkheads have been found to interfere with the natural geological and hydrological processes that help develop suitable spawning habitat for fish such as surf smelt and sand lance. These small fish are important food sources for marine birds and juvenile salmon.
Funding for the project has been provided by the Estuary Salmon Restoration Program, Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources Marine and Nearshore Grant Program, Skagit Marine Resources Committee, Northwest Straits Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Since September 2014, citizen-science volunteers have contributed more than 350 hours of pre-construction monitoring at the site to establish baseline conditions for comparison after construction. Coastal Geologic Services from Bellingham engineered the design for the project, and Trimaxx Construction from Sedro-Woolley will be doing the construction.
Bowman Bay is located on the Fidalgo Island side of Deception Pass State Park. More information about the project, visit: http://www.nwstraitsfoundation.org/Foundation/Current-Projects.aspx
For more information about Deception Pass State Park, visit: parks.state.wa.us/497/Deception-Pass
Media interested in visiting the restoration site should contact Lisa Kaufman, Northwest Straits Foundation Nearshore Program Manager, at (360) 733-1725 or Kaufman@nwstraitsfoundation.org. The Northwest Straits Foundation can provide aerial and time-lapsed video of construction upon request.
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
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Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
About Northwest Straits Foundation
The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, a collaborative model for marine conservation with a vision of diverse communities working together to restore a thriving marine ecosystem in the Northwest Straits of the Salish Sea. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) of the Northwest Straits whose members represent the diverse stakeholders of their communities, and who identify and implement local marine conservation and restoration projects in their communities.
The Northwest Straits Foundation is working in partnership with county Marine Resources Committees and other public and private partners to restore shoreline habitats throughout the Northwest Straits to benefit wildlife and people long term. By preventing and removing hard shoreline structures such as bulkheads, seawalls and riprap, regrading beaches and planting native vegetation, these projects improve nearshore habitat for endangered salmon and bull trout, as well as forage fish they depend on. They also improve public access and increase the beach’s resilience to climate change. Learn more about our current projects at http://www.nwstraitsfoundation.org/
About Skagit County Marine Resources Committee
The Skagit County Marine Resources Committee is a citizen committee appointed by the Skagit County Commission. The committee’s stated purpose is to “act as a catalyst for the protection and restoration of the marine waters, habitats and species of Skagit County to achieve ecosystem health and sustainable resource use.” The Skagit County Marine Resources Committee is one of seven citizen Marine Resources Committees of the Northwest Straits Initiative.
Toni Droscher, State Parks, (360) 902-8604
Lisa Kaufman, NW Straits, (360) 733-1725
Wash. Telecommunications Relay Service: (800) 833-6388