Restoring Marine Habitat

...On a Working Waterfront

Balancing economic and aquatic health along Guemes Channel shores

p2 16 guemes channel

Washington state law considers "waters of the state"—the tidelands, shores, harbors, and beds of navigable waters—to be public resources, owned by and available to all citizens.

To preserve a healthy ecosystem, aquatic lands damaged by shoreline development must be compensated—or mitigated—for by creating or restoring similar habitats elsewhere.

Along Guemes Channel, degraded shoreline is being restored and new habitats created in exchange for upgrades and development by the Port of Anacortes.

The Washington Department of Ecology and of Commerce cooperate with Port and local partners to realize industrial opportunities for the city, while restoring "waters of the state" for the public.

Pier 1 redevelopment

Pier 1 redevelopment

In 2008, Port Pier 1 upgrades improved deep-water access and increased the shipbuilding capacity for Dakota Creek Industries. During dredging, chemical contaminants discovered in sediments at the site were removed. To compensate for waters impacted by the development, new habitats were established nearby.

Beach Restoration

Beach Restoration

Restoration completed on the beach in front of you helps offset the adverse impacts of development at Pier 1. Contaminated soils, concrete, and creosote pilings were removed. Rain gardens, porous paving, natural vegetation and erosion buffers, and new beach sediments now protect the recovering aquatic habitat.

Robinson's Cove

Robinson's Cove

An abandoned marina's dilapidated buildings and docks, and soils polluted by over 130 years of industrial use, were transformed into functioning intertidal, saltmarsh, and riparian habitats. Robinson's Cove now naturally filters stormwater and provides habitat for fish and other wildlife.

Information on this Trail Tales website was prepared under funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Public Participation Grant Program. While the information was reviewed for grant consistency and accuracy of project references, this does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the Department.

Learn more about Ecology’s Anacortes Baywide Cleanup

Photo credits: Anacortes History Museum, Washington state Dept. of Ecology, Samish Indian Nation and others, as noted. Illustrations by Linda Feltner.