Alternatives to Bulkheads Training

Course #1 - General Concepts Related to Shorelines and Stabilization (self-paced): This self-paced course will help you identify key aspects of shoreline and coastal processes relevant to sites within Puget Sound. It is especially geared toward shoreline planners, consultants, and marine contractors who are interested in implementing projects considered to be “soft” alternatives to bulkheads or armoring.  This course will help you become familiar with general topics related to coastal processes, shoreline vegetation, marine habitat, weather impacts, and climate change. This overview of shoreline and coastal processes forms the basis of understanding all other aspects of shoreline stabilization and the alternatives to armoring.

Course #2 - An overview of Local, State and Federal Permit Requirements (virtual)This virtual class will address the local, state and federal permitting associated with the implementation of alternatives to bulkheads or armoring shoreline projects. It is especially geared toward shoreline planners, consultants, and marine contractors who are interested in the permits required to restore shorelines to natural conditions or to implement projects considered “soft” alternatives to bulkheads or armoring. This class will help you understand which permits are required for different activities in the marine shoreline and how they relate to different levels of government. You will learn whom to contact, what steps are involved in the permit process, what to include in a permit package, and how the different permits relate to one another. Permits reviewed in this class include: local government shoreline master program permits, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Hydraulic Project Approval, US Army Corp of Engineer permits, FEMA and floodplain permits, and Endangered Species Act review by National Marine Fisheries Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional permit-related issues include Department of Natural Resources (DNR) leases and cultural resources reviews and coordination with the Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). The role of tribes in the permit process is also included.

Course #3 - How to Address Site Assessments for Design and Construction (virtual and field session): This course includes an virtual and in-person element and explores how to conduct a site assessment for a shoreline stabilization project. This includes identifying issues that need to be addressed, where to find resources for each of the issues, and how to prepare and read reports pertaining to various aspects of the site.

Course #4 - Demonstration of Need, Risk Assessment, and Alternatives Analysis (virtual): This virtual course examines how to determine which type of erosion protection and shoreline treatment is applicable for a given site, as no one design is applicable everywhere. It will cover the preparation and review of the site-specific alternatives analysis for shoreline stabilization, including an evaluation of where alternatives to bulkheads are appropriate. The information in this course builds upon the information identified and included in the Site Assessment course #3. This course will also address the application review perspective of a local jurisdiction, including the concept of “demonstration of need,” as required in shoreline master programs, and how emergency situations are addressed. The risk assessment tool (as revised), provided in the Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines (MSDG), will be discussed as a basis for determining need.

Course #5 - Techniques for Erosion Control, including Construction Materials and Maintenance (virtual): This virtual course will explore the range of erosion control measures and restoration techniques applicable to Washington state shorelines as described in the Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines and developed for the Puget Sound region. Descriptions of each of the techniques and where they are appropriate to use will be discussed. The course will also cover the effects of these techniques, provide design examples, and present successful and unsuccessful examples. Included are construction materials, methods, and maintenance. The purpose of this course is to familiarize attendees with various technical assistance and support options.

Course #6 - Sea Level Rise Issues (self-paced): This self-paced course will provide an overview of sea level rise and coastal hazards that impact location and design of alternatives to bulkheads or armor. The course will provide science and policy context; outline the key considerations for sea level rise and shoreline stabilization projects; describe siting, design, and adaptive management of alternatives to bulkheads; and offer local and regional permitting perspectives. You’ll learn why bulkheads may not provide protection against future coastal conditions and explore alternatives including soft shore design, avoidance, and managed retreat. You’ll hear perspectives from instructors representing the research, policy, engineering, and permitting sectors about the key questions, challenges, and opportunities they are identifying as we reconsider shoreline stabilization in the context of sea level rise. 

The Alternative to Bulkheads courses are endorsed by the Shore Friendly program and the content is consistent with Shore Friendly recommended practices. Participation in the training program does not indicate any form of endorsement of attendees by the Shore Friendly program, nor does participation assume subsequent work conducted by a participant adheres to Shore Friendly principles. Funded wholly or in part by EPA under grant #PC-01J22301 (NEP Habitat Strategic Initiative).

Washington State Department of Ecology 


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