Turn Point Marsh and Beach Restoration (San Juan)

200 waterfront feet of beach and salt marsh habitat restored by removing an unnecessary rock bulkhead (2009).


In San Juan County, there are hundreds of unnecessary bulkheads on beaches, placed in areas with low natural erosion rates. Bulkheads not only have direct habitat impacts but also interrupt or alter the actual processes that are essential to maintaining our beaches over the long term.

– Engineering Geologist Jim Johannessen of Coastal Geologic Services

This project removed an unnecessary rockery from the upper beach along the front of a rare and valuable coastal wetland. The rockery did not provide any property protection services, completely blocked tidal exchange between the salt marsh and the marine environment and buried the upper beach. Over 60 cubic yards of rock was removed from 200 linear feet of shoreline, freeing upper beach habitat and enabling reformation of the natural berm and tidal channel. The beach was nourished with small sand and gravel and revegetated – this provides suitable forage fish spawning substrate for surf smelt and Pacific sand lance. Reconnecting the salt marsh to the marine environment opened up habitat for juvenile salmon and forage fish.

Project acknowledgements: Mike Carlson Enterprises and Coastal Geologic Services.

Funding was provided by: Friends members, the private landowners, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service