This plan attacks the symptoms rater than the cause of the problem. Bulkheads are a passive reflector of energy as such it is a symptom. I have a bulkhead, as do all of my neighbors. This is because I live on the Bremerton Ferry route. In my case the problem was extensive beach erosion caused by the passenger ferries. The Washington State passenger ferries were throwing wakes in excess of 6 feet high. This resulted in severe beach erosion, and total destruction of the kelp beds in Rich Passage. It took a lawsuit by shoreline property owners to stop the problem. The state did make some restitution in repairing the destruction to private property but made no effort to reconstitute the destroyed ecology and Kelp Beds. The state says bulkheads restrict sediment feeding the beach. The homeowner sees this as permanent loss of the front yard.
Now these same property owners are being told that we are the problem with our residential lawns and lack of native vegetation, with little or no justification. Some of the DOE’s arguments make no sense. They treat residential lawns the same as an impervious surface, the same as concrete. As for pollution run off, 15 million dollars was spent looking at the cause of low oxygen levels in Hood Canal. The net results were that man-made causes had little significant impact on the conditions in Hood Canal. The State and the Puget Sound Partnership all agree that the primary source of pollution affecting the Sound is storm water run off. As such Shoreline residences contribute little to the problem.
The Kitsap County 303D report only lists fecal coli form as the primary contaminant affecting Sinclair and Dyes Inlet. The most likely residential source is failing septic systems. The Cities, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and the County stream team have done a magnificent job of minimizing oil pollution, identifying problems and correcting them. As a result the health department is opening more and more beaches to shellfish harvesting every year. If residential fecal coli form remains a problem then this should be addressed, by conversion to sewer systems. Planting Native vegetation does not contribute to the solution. Although everyone agrees that Storm water run off is the problem there is no program to monitor Storm water outfalls for Fecal Coliform and identify sources of contamination.
Shoreline residential property owners believe that they are good stewards of the environment. No one buys a shoreline residence to pollute their front yard, or block their view with native vegetation. Most owners will accommodate logical scientific based solutions if they are shown to be contributing to improvement. There has been no discussion on how the current buffers are not working and why they need to be expanded to cover 25-100% of the Shoreline jurisdiction.
The SMP is a feel good passive restriction program that does little to solve the issues confronting the sound. It doesn’t identify causes of the problem and develop solutions. It has no provision to measure important parameters or monitor progress. Instead it places restrictions on property owners, hinders property improvement, and restricts development of individual properties. It places the onus on the property owner to do costly studies to prove that they are doing damage to the environment. No credit is given to the millions of taxpayer dollars that are being spent to actual improve the sound.