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Public Comments

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials are now seeking public comments on the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project Draft Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement.

The 45-day public comment period began October 10 and runs through November 24.

A public meeting is scheduled 5-8 p.m. November 5 at the Burlington City Hall Council Chambers, 833 South Spruce St., Burlington, Wash., 98233, to discuss the proposal for federal action and the alternatives considered.

Submit comments by email at
Nearshore@usace.army.mil, or mail (must be postmarked by Nov. 24, 2014):

    Attn: Ms. Nancy C. Gleason
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    CENWS-EN-ER
    P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, WA, 98124

Documents at Libraries

A copy of the documents are available for review at the following libraries.
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Oak Harbor Library
1000 SE Regatta Dr
Oak Harbor, WA  98277
Burien Library
400 SW 152nd St
Burien, WA  98166
Orcas Island Public Library
500 Rose St
Eastsound, WA 98245
Burlington Public Library
900 Easat Fairhaven Ave
Burlington, WA  98233
Marysville Library
6120 Grove St
Marysville, WA  98270
Ferndale Library
2007 Cherry St
Ferndale, WA  98248

Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project Overview

The Puget Sound region is generally characterized by areas of steep upland terrain (i.e., mountains, bluffs) that transitions quickly to the deep waters of Puget Sound. A narrow band of shoreline serves as a transition zone providing ecologically important connections between the terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystem types. These beaches, embayments and delta shorelines are heavily impacted by human changes. Therefore, the nearshore zone is a strategic focus for Puget Sound recovery.

Puget Sound is home to large concentrations of waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors; abundant shellfish; dozens of marine mammal species; and some of the largest salmon runs in the lower 48 states. More than 2,500 miles of beaches, estuaries and river deltas make up Puget Sound’s nearshore zone. Nearshore habitats provide commercial, recreational and aesthetic benefits that enhance quality of life. For more than 150 years there has been profound physical modifications to the Puget Sound nearshore zone. Government and non-government agencies, organizations, tribes and businesses are actively seeking opportunities to reverse past damage. The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project (PSNERP) offers a unique opportunity to tackle large-scale habitat restoration based upon a comprehensive science-based assessment of this nationally-significant estuary.

Tentatively Selected Plan

PSNERP evaluated more than 500 potential restoration sites, identifying the best places and opportunities to improve the nearshore zone’s ability to provide locally- and nationally-valued resources. The currently proposed 11 sites included in the Tentatively Selected Plan will restore an estimated 5,300 acres of nearshore ecosystems, with an estimated total project cost of about $1.1 billion.

Benefits from this preferred alternative will derive from removing nearly 75,162 linear feet of shoreline stressors, including tidal barriers, nearshore fill and shoreline armoring; thereby restoring processes that will provide an additional 5,354 acres of tidally influenced wetlands in river deltas and shallow embayments, as well as sustain beach ecosystems. Sites included in the Tentatively Selected Plan are geomorphically representative of the entire study area. The proposal includes seven sites in major river deltas, one beach site, one open coastal inlet site and two barrier embayment sites. Completion of the Puget Sound Nearshore Study and the construction of the 11 proposed sites is a critical component of the Puget Sound Action Agenda, the state and Federal plan for Puget Sound Recovery.  Construction of the proposed sites will also support efforts to preserve treaty protected fishing rights for Western Washington Treaty Tribes, and support recovery of the 13 fish and marine mammal species in Puget Sound listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.