Commentary: Kitsap County Social Marketing Campaign To Remove Shoreline Armor (Bulkheads)

Report by Vivian Henderson (My Interpretation)                  January 21, 2015

January 8, 2015, I pulled up the Agenda for the Commissioners January 12, 2015 meeting and discovered an item I thought to be of great concern to shoreline property owners who have a bulkhead.

It was a Grant in the amount of $365,854 for a contract with “Dept. Fish & Wildlife for a Social Marketing Campaign to remove shoreline armoring . . .” On further investigation I discovered that Futurewise – formerly “1000 Friends of Washington” – is also a major player in the program as is Washington SeaGrant.

It appears the only role DF&W plays in this venture is receiving the money from Kitsap County and distributing it according to the terms of the “Grant Agreement.” Actually the money comes from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant.

There is much more to the grant than that. I’m working on getting the facts on the grant. Futurewise, and possibly Washington Sea Grant, are what I call “radical” environmentalists.

Futurewise has always been outspoken and hostile about putting the environment above the needs of mankind. Their disregard for property rights and ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ choices people have a right to make for their own benefit – like where they want to live and how to commute to and from work are well known by property rights supporters. Futurewise supports issues completely contrary to the issues Kitsap Alliance supports. They support “Smart Growth”, the ”Growth Management Act”, “sustainable development,” etc. 

Years ago at a public hearing in Chehalis (or maybe it was Centralia) a presenter from “1000 Friends of Washington” made the statement “We don’t care if the house falls into the water, it is a feeder bluff and the house shouldn’t be there”.

That’s not the only time sentiments like that have been expressed. Back in the 90’s when Kitsap County was adopting the Growth Management Act, then known as “1000 Friends of Washington”, sent supporters from King County to Kitsap County’s public hearings to testify in support of proposed laws and regulations that severely limit property owners’ rights.

“Social Marketing Campaign to Reduce Shoreline Armor through incentives. . . . Once a property owner has been “prescreened for receptivity“ grants to defray costs of removal of his bulkhead and other incentives are available to him. A three hour boat tour, for example. What fun is that?

“When landowners enter into costs share agreements they will be required to sign a “Landowner’s Agreement” with Kitsap County for a period of 10 years which includes construction and monitoring as well as requirements to maintain any buffer plantings and other project performance measures.”

During that 10 year period, ”Shore Stewards” will be available to help property owners maintain the restored areas? I wonder ~ does the “Landowner’s Agreement” allow the Shore Stewards and others unlimited access to your beach without your permission?

Will the “Shore Friendly Ambassadors,” or the Shore Stewards, or the Influencers or the Beach Naturalist be able to guarantee that the soft shore measures with which they have replaced the bulkhead protect your property as well as the bulkhead they destroyed?

Does the Landowner’s Agreement make any requirement that any part of the property or shoreline be put in a conservation easement? Is there a requirement that funds be put in escrow to guarantee there are funds available in case the property owner dies or moves or becomes incapacitated in some way?

How it works ~ Kitsap County, Futurewise and SeaGrant are “partners.” Futurewise will take the lead on “social marketing”, media development, materials, etc. and “influencer” outreach. The objective is to have at least 5 shoreline property owners in the process of removing armor and/or replacement with soft shore protection and many more considering removal.

Within the period of the grant 11/11/2014 to 09/30/2016, Sea Grant will lead the “Shore Ambassador” component of the project developing relationships with property owners with potential for armor removal/replacement. There will be education and meetings for “key” influencers such as contractors and real estate agents; a minimum of 20 of the most active shoreline professionals.

Kitsap County will determine priority shorelines and will work to improve the permit processes for shoreline armor removal. In my mind there is no question about it, this is a “make work” project. It just emphasizes what I’ve said all along, Puget Sound will never be “restored” to health. There are too many well-paying jobs at stake. Saving Salmon has become an industry in itself. Where else can you have an endangered species for dinner?

This is an appeal to help fulfill Puget Sound Partnership’s Action Agenda. I’m sure there are shoreline property owners who would jump at the chance to have their failing bulkhead replaced through this program and I would not object to it if the property owner went into it knowing full well all of the ramifications.

Many times bureaucrats “color” the story in their favor to the detriment of the property owner. This is why citizens don’t trust the government. Don’t think for a moment that this will only cost taxpayers $365,854. That could just be the beginning.

I believe this could be done for a lot less. Culverts! Don’t forget Culverts. By a 2003 court order, Washington has to replace nearly 1,000 culverts that block or impede fish passage along western Washington streams. Costs? $2.4 billion. The State can’t afford it and neither can Kitsap County afford this project. The commissioners passed it unanimously.

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