Shore Friendly Program

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Are you concerned about your shoreline property? Would you like to learn more about natural techniques to protect your property and the shoreline habitat you love? We work with technical professionals who can provide site-specific information about your shoreline property and give recommendations on how to address shoreline erosion, vegetation management, drainage concerns, and even structure relocation to help you protect your property and Puget Sound. 

Click here to sign up for a site visit.

**We recently partnered with Island County Salmon Recovery to send out a postcard to shoreline property owners in priority salmon recovery areas, featuring artwork from local artist, Roger Perdue.

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The Shore Friendly Program

Island County Natural Resources secured funding through the Puget Sound Marine and Nearshore Grant Program (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington State Department of Natural Resources) to implement landowner incentives to reduce Puget Sound shoreline armoring in Island County. This project supports the Island Local Integrating Organization's priority near-term action "preventing any further hard armoring on Island County shorelines."

The aim of this project is to promote alternative strategies for shoreline residential properties that provide both the use and enjoyment of the property while promoting and maintaining the ecological properties of nearshore ecosystems for the support of fish and wildlife.

With approximately 196 miles of shoreline surrounded by marine waters, Island County has the second highest percentage of shoreline parcels in Puget Sound. The nearshore and coastal estuaries provide critical shelter, refuge, food and physiological refuge for juvenile salmon as they transition from river to ocean stages of their life. Island County shorelines also have the second greatest portion of Sound-wide forage fish spawning parcels, of which 70% are unarmored. 

The program’s purpose is to influence Island County shoreline residents who have natural shorelines in place or those who have armored shoreline and are considering repair or replacement to adopt a “shore-friendly protection” approach.  ICDNR will utilize the regional social marketing behavior change strategy model to implement a program to build understanding and develop consistent messaging about Shore Friendly practices among County staff, realtors, consultants, and environmental educators. Providing cost incentives for choosing shore-friendly alternatives to armoring along with efficient, consistent and streamlined permit review for shore-friendly permitting will ensure a better experience for shoreline homeowners, thereby removing a significant barrier to adopting the preferred behavior of adopting shore-friendly protection methods.

The long-term objectives for this project are to:  

  1. Employ research-based incentives to motivate shoreline homeowners to commit to preserving the beauty and value of natural beaches by considering softer armoring alternatives, and;
  2. Create a culture in Island County where shoreline homeowners enjoy the natural beach environment and embrace protecting ecosystem health of Island County beaches and Puget Sound.

Elements of the project:

Permitting Incentive for Soft Shore Alternatives – ICDNR will work with Island County Community Planning and Development (ICCP&D) staff to identify barriers to shoreline permitting process efficiencies and develop a streamlined permitting process to incentivize soft shore alternatives. 

Financial Incentive for Soft Shore Alternatives - Compensation for professional engineer services for permitting assistance to landowners and to review and approve shoreline armoring permits needing verification.

Influencer Audience Training – ICDNR will facilitate training for realtors who serve Island County, contractors who construct armoring in Island County, and ICCP&D on soft-shore protection and Shore Friendly incentives.  This will include up to 8 trainings during grant 2-year period.  ICDNR will host Shore Friendly Workshops to educate realtors, contractors, and ICP&CD staff.

Implement a shore-friendly social marketing campaign – ICDNR will model the regional social marketing behavior change strategy (Social Marketing Strategy to Reduce Puget Sound Shoreline Armoring) to develop and implement a social marketing program for Island County. The project proposes to incorporate the Washington State University (WSU) Extension Office Shore Stewards Program which currently serves approximately 800 Island County landowners with outreach on shoreline living. Outreach to new shoreline property owners through Shore Friendly New Homeowner Visits and Packets to encourage natural, unarmored shorelines as the social norm and reinforce the attitude of pride around having an unarmored shoreline, where applicable. We will utilize the influencer audiences (Realtors & WSU Shore Stewards) to distribute shore friendly new homeowner packets to new property owners within a month after they purchase their property.  

Helpful Resources

For more information on the regional Shore Friendly program, visit

Shore Friendly Mini-Grant Program

Shoreline landowners around Island County want to protect their properties while also protecting the fish, wildlife, and shoreline habitats of Puget Sound. We are excited to announce that Island County shoreline landowners are invited to apply for funding through the Island County Shore Friendly Mini-Grant program to enhance nearshore habitat and prevent the need for hard shoreline armor.

Mini-grant amounts will range from $500-$5,000, and can be used towards the following project types. Get started by signing up for a site visit!

Project Types:

Projects must be in the support of either the removal of shoreline armoring or prevention of future shoreline armoring.

  • Bulkhead removal
  • Soft shore protection
  • Native vegetation installation
  • Drainage management
  • House or septic relocation

Eligible Activities:

  • Consulting services
  • Project design
  • Permitting fees
  • Project implementation

To learn more about the program and eligible activities, click here.

To discuss your project or for more information, contact Ann Prusha.

Ready to get started? Click here.

Shore Friendly Living Video Series

Learn more about what it means to be Shore Friendly in this video series from our partners at the Northwest Straits Foundation. 

1. How our beaches are created and maintained: In the first video of the series, coastal geologist Hugh Shipman guides us on a virtual beach walk to learn about the geology and physical processes that create and maintain our beaches. As we explore how beaches form and change over time, we’ll also learn how these processes determine who and what utilize the shoreline and make it their home.


2. Erosion: In the second video, we learn about the erosion process, and how our well-intentioned efforts to prevent erosion can have negative effects on both the ecology and geology of the beach.


3. Marine ecosystems and shoreline armoring: In the third video, we explore a bigger picture of the marine ecosystem by learning about the connections among all of the species that use the shoreline, and how bulkheads and other forms of shoreline armoring can disrupt that ecological balance.


4. Why vegetation matters: The fourth video provides a big picture perspective on why vegetation matters. More vegetation videos are anticipated, and will focus on native plants, managing invasives, and managing vegetation for views.


5. How can I protect and enjoy my shoreline property while also promoting a healthy ecosystem?

In the video below, local residents and a coastal geologist share about the environmental, recreational, and aesthetic benefits of natural and restored beaches.


Dive deeper with these resources!

  • In this webinar from the Northwest Straits Foundation, learn how you can protect and maintain your shoreline property and access while also protecting the fish, wildlife and habitats that we all enjoy.

  • Are you ready to learn about the uses of native vegetation for shoreline stabilization and habitat? This webinar from Northwest Straits Foundation is an excellent place to get started!


  • PDF options:  Living Near the Edge of the Salish Sea, is an excellent lecture and resource, available in PDF form. "The web-lecture provided here can perhaps help you to better understand your property’s unique character and show you how to reduce the inherent risks of living along the picturesque shores of the Salish Sea."