Enhancing your property
In areas where there is low erosion risk, homeowners may be able to remove all or part of their old bulkhead to improve direct access to their beach and enjoy a natural look while still protecting their property.
Improving the beach for plants and animals
Studies show bulkheads reduce habitat, plants, sand, and other sediment, and in turn deprive young salmon of food and shelter. Thus removing bulkheads can:
|Increase Habitat – Bulkheads and other armoring structures can degrade the nearshore habitats that provide food for many fish, including salmon. For example, spawning areas for surf smelt, sand lance, and herring may be lost when the bulkhead replaces intertidal habitat or when reflected wave energy removes fine sediments and smaller rocks from the intertidal zone. When bulkheads are removed, plants and animals can again use these areas for habitat.|
|Restore Plants – When bulkheads are built, overhanging trees, shrubs and salt marsh plants are sometimes removed or destroyed. This can cause increased siltation, reduced organic matter, and changes in nearshore marine habitat and food chain. When bulkheads are removed, plants can regrow in the waterfront area, providing needed benefits.|
|Renourish beaches – Where long stretches of shore are lined with bulkheads and other hard armoring, beaches composed of fine sediments can erode down to gravel, cobble, or hardpan within a few decades. In addition to your beach becoming coarser, your neighbors’ beaches can also become altered. When bulkheads are removed, beaches can regain their natural gradients.|