Nearshore Restoration Project

Nearshore Restoration Project

The goal of the project is to improve nearshore habitat at four locations along a 4.5 mile stretch of the railroad impounded shoreline between Mukilteo and Everett. These locations include restoration at Howarth Park, and beach nourishment at three sites at the outlets of Powdermill Gulch, Narbeck and Glenwood Creeks. Dredge material from the Snohomish River was placed at these key nourishment sites allowing the drift cell to naturally distribute sediment along the shoreline.

The Howarth Park Beach Restoration includes removing the bulkhead on the beach, as well as restoring and regrading the beach to restore habitat. This will give the public more usable beach at high tide. Native vegetation will be planted at the foot of the stairway, and additional sediment will be placed to regrade the beach to a more natural profile. Plants slated for Howarth Park are currently growing at the Snohomish County Native Plant Nursery until construction is complete.

The restoration at Howarth Park and the three nourishment sites will benefit juvenile salmon and forage fish by supplementing the nearshore habitat with finer sediment and improve the riparian habitat along the beach. Beach nourishment at Howarth Park will also expand the usable beach and improve access for the public.

US Representative Rick Larsen tours the Howarth Park restoration site in April 2017.


Shoreline railroad construction, beginning in the early 1800s, has disrupted natural beach and habitat forming processes, resulting in degraded shorelines or beaches. Extensive loss of mid-upper-beach habitat and a shift in the sediment composition of remaining beach impact both salmon and forage fish habitat. Forage fish need sand and gravel to spawn, and juvenile salmon rely on shallow water areas to avoid predators. The disconnection of riparian areas from the beach and shallow marine waters degrades nearshore food-webs. These changes also reduce the food source for orcas, seals, birds, and other marine organisms.

The Nearshore Beach Restoration Project was developed by Snohomish County and its partners to support the Snohomish River Basin Salmon Conservation Plan and the federal listing of the Puget Sound Chinook Salmon as a threatened species. The nearshore environment of the Snohomish River Basin (WRIA 7) has been identified as a high priority for restoration of juvenile salmon and forage fish rearing habitat.

Before Construction

Hard armoring is visible at Howarth Park, which was removed for restoration in 2016. 

Project Planning and Implementation

The Nearshore Beach Restoration Project began in 2011 with three stakeholder meetings to identify priorities for restoration of the nearshore to improve both salmon and forage fish habitat.  A technical assessment was used to evaluate the physical characteristics and biological potential of proposed sites. The conclusion of this stakeholder process generated a list of site and restoration treatment recommendations, which included restoration at Howarth Park and the three beach nourishment sites.

A public information meeting was held on April 24th, 2014 and 43 local residents attended to learn about the project. Kathleen Pozarycki, MRC lead staff, provided an overview of the project and was joined by Dave Lucas, project engineer, to answer questions from the public. Attendees were supportive of the project and wanted to stay informed on progress and volunteer opportunities. 

Project partners include Snohomish County Surface Water Management, the City of Everett, the Port of Everett, the US Environmental Protection Agency, US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office Salmon Recovery Funding Board, and the Puget Sound Partnership. 

During Construction 

Sand which was originally dredged from the Snohomish River was placed at six different beach nourishment locations. The sand was transported from a nearby location by barge to the nourishment locations using tugs. Some of the sand was placed at Howarth Park and graded using construction equipment to create a sloped beach area. The rest of the sand was placed down drift of Howarth Park and will move towards Howarth. See a time-lapse video of the construction below! 



Download a free copy of this booklet from the Department of Fish and Wildlife for marine waterfront landowners: Your Marine Waterfront: A guide to protecting your property while promoting healthy shorelines

Project Funding

Feasibility, design and construction generously funded by: 

*Disclaimer: This web page was developed under Assistant Agreement No. (TBD) awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  It has not been formally reviewed by EPA.  The views expressed are solely those of the Snohomish County MRC and EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned.

NWSC Benchmarks Achieved: Marine Habitat, Science, Education & Outreach

Nearshore Restoration Project