Along Washington’s coasts, communities look to their shores as a first line of defense against surging waves, strong storms and rising seas.
The Two-Minute Takeaway
A quick explanation of scientific terms and concepts we use regularly in conservation
Where natural coastal habitats have been removed, riprap—ranging from large rocks to massive concrete blocks—is a manmade solution that can actually degrade the ecosystem. Riprap alters sediment transport and sand composition, depletes some invertebrate populations, and buries fish-spawning habitat, among other negative impacts.
When coastal habitats are preserved, nature’s innate resilience goes to work — trapping sediment and reducing wave energy to limit erosion and floods due to strong seas, filtering water, and supporting important habitats.