Hundreds of abandoned tires are littering the shoreline and intertidal zone of what appeared vacated property along Sequim Bay.
Sequim resident Charles Darland took note of the tires while kayaking with his wife not far from Sequim Bay State Park.
“There are hundreds of them in and out of the water and I imagine a lot are in the overgrowth that we can’t even see,” he wrote in an email to the newspaper inquiring about the tires.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered the tires won’t be there for long.
Staff with the community-based nonprofit the North Olympic Salmon Coalition are spearheading a project to restore and enhance a 1,400-foot section of Sequim Bay shoreline.
“The intent is to restore ecological functions to the shoreline, lower bluff and upland areas, with the majority of the project focused on shoreline restoration,” according the shoreline exemption approved by Clallam County Department of Community Development officials in February.
The 200-plus tires used to armor the shoreline are among many defunct structures slated for removal during the project.
“We hope to begin construction in mid-June,” Kim Clark, NOSC project manager, said.
Funding for the $400,000 project came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state Recreation and Conservation Office Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
Aside from the 1,040 square-foot beach house and hundreds of tires, a 194-foot concrete bulkhead, 140-foot rubble bulkhead, 110-foot pier and associated pilings, access road across the bluff, 1,165 cubic-yards of nearshore fill material and noxious, invasive plant species also are targeted for removal.
The project is located at the “former Dawley parcels” about six miles east of the City of Sequim, according to county officials.
The once 14.9-acre and 7.5-acre residential waterfront properties are now owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and managed as a part of the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
Given its proximity to a project done by the NOSC in 2009, the Pitship pocket estuary restoration project, Clark noted the two projects are “complementary” in restoring the nearshore corridor from the mouth of Jimmycomelately Creek.
“The nearshore habitat is critical to salmon, especially summer chum, migrating to and from Jimmycomelately Creek, and forage fish,” she said. “Currently the habitat here is degraded with creosote pilings, tires and a bulkhead inhibiting nearshore sedimentation processes.”
However, as a result of the project, the shoreline will be re-contoured to blend into undisturbed adjacent beaches, the marine riparian zone will be revegetated and the removal of the creosoted pilings is anticipated to improve water quality within Sequim Bay, according to the project description. Upon project completion about 5 percent of the bulkhead from the Sequim Bay shoreline will have been eliminated.
“This project will repair habitat-sustaining shoreline processes and improve migration and survival of juvenile salmon,” said NOSC officials.
NOSC is working in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to pursue the restoration effort.
For more information on the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, visit nosc.org or call 360-379-8051.