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The Bainbridge Island Land Trust protects and preserves private property as well as acquires land for parks and trails.
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The Bainbridge Island Land Trust protects and preserves private property as well as acquires land for parks and trails.

Powel Shoreline Restoration Project

Powel Shoreline Restoration Project

The Powel family and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust (BILT) broke ground on August 27, 2012 on the restoration phase of the Powel Shoreline Restoration Project.  The project was financially supported by the Powel Family, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund (PSAR) administered by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board/Washington Recreation Office, and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust.  See below for the history of the project. The project was officially completed as of May 2015, but BILT continues to have an active role in monitoring the results. 

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KCTS 9's QUEST Northwest program has profiled our Powel Shoreline Restoration Project in a new story (February 2014)  and video. They outline how coastal walls built to protect property from erosion were torn down in efforts to restore life to critical ecosystems.  Watch the video and read the story here.


Armor removal and removal of invasive plants along the shoreline took place until September 19, 2012 when our incredible team from JTC Inc pulled out with two large barges full of debris. Our team from Sound Native Plants then started up again in early November of that year to plant over 2650 native trees and plants along the riparian area of the property. A heavy mulch layer was applied around the planting area to help reduce invasive plants coming back and to help retain moisture (no shortage of that in the past months!) to the new plants.

During the first winter we had some incredible high tides that helped naturally sort the remaining pieces of armor from the native soils. After the high tides, we hand picked up loose armor materials to help clean up the beach a bit more. The first year the plants held up well - aggressive weed control and watering (starting July 2013) remains part of the project - provided by our contractors, volunteers and the landowners - to ensure our goal of 80% plant survival.

Attached is a representative list of the native plants we installed, which were recommended for survivability near salt water, the soil types, sun and shade exposure (we had 8 different zones on this project - each with different planting recommendations).

We are overwhelmingly pleased with the interest people have had in this project.  In September 2013 we hosted a public tour of the project (over 30 people braved the downpours) and then we invited our stakeholders to the property so they were able to see the changes that had taken place over the past year. In 2016 the property was the site of our annual Preservation Partners Party. 

If you have questions about this project, feel free to contact Brenda Padgham, Conservation Director, Bainbridge Island Land Trust, (206) 842-1216 or

Here are some links for more information about the project:

Powel Shoreline Restoration Project Poster

Powel Shoreline Restoration Project Brochure

Powel Shoreline Design Report

Inside Bainbridge Article and Photos

Kitsap Sun News Article

Bainbridge Review

Project History:  The Powel family has had a relationship with BILT since 1993 when they placed a conservation easement on their property. Over the past 3.5 years the Powels voluntarily worked with BILT, and a number of area partners, to explore restoration options for their shoreline. BILT received funds from the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund through the Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board to implement this project.

The Powel Shoreline Restoration Project restored over 1544 lineal feet of privately owned shoreline in Port Madison by removing shoreline armoring. Removal of the armoring will increase various habitats, including a 163 percent overall increase in current intertidal habitat area associated with the project property. This will almost triple the amount of salt marsh habitat over time, and enhance 32,795 square feet of marine riparian habitat. This project addressed lost salt marsh, intertidal habitats, and marine riparian habitat typically associated with armoring.  The project focused on recreating shallow intertidal habitat important to juvenile salmonids, particularly ESA-listed Chinook, for migration, feeding, refuge and physiological transition. The nearshore environment associated with the Powel property is home to documented juvenile salmon and forage fish.

After permits were obtaimed, J.T.C. Inc of Tacoma was hired to remove the bulkhead and debris from the property. Sound Native Plants of Olympia was hired to remove invasive plants and restore the riparian area with new native plants. Significant work with construction equipment and barges took place in August and September of 2012. Less intrusive work, such as planting and maintaining plants, and monitoring the restoration effort, took place over the following years. Questions on the project components and design can be directed to Brenda Padgham, BILT Stewardship Director.

This project was Phase II of a two phased project and implemented Phase I, the Powel Shoreline Restoration Design Project, also funded by Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration funding administered by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which resulted in a restoration design by Coastal Geologic Services of Bellingham.  The Powel family was actively involved in the design with other project stakeholders, including Washington Sea Grant, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Suquamish Tribe, City of Bainbridge Island, U.S. Army Corp Engineers, and Bainbridge Island Land Trust volunteer Frank Stowell and Brenda Padgham, BILT Stewardship Director.

The plan did not call for reshaping the grade/slope of the shoreline or the introduction of beach "nourishment" - essentially we removed armoring and are letting nature takes its course to restore and or enhance the natural character and ecological attributes of the shoreline. By allowing the natural nearshore processes to take over to enhance ecological structure and natural functions this project has therefore provided for a more resilient shoreline. 

This project also demonstrated how restoration actions can take place on privately owned shorelands in a way that balances restoration with residential use.  The project acts as a showcase for other shoreline landowners about the importance of the nearshore habitat and the options available for voluntarily such habitats in Puget Sound. 

Bainbridge Island Land Trust (BILT) has been working with private landowners, non-profit organizations and local tribal and governmental entities on the island for 24 years to protect shoreline, forests, wetlands, and other important habitats. Our first conservation easement was was placed on the Young Family's Battle Point Spit Property in 1990. This important beach and nearshore area is home to over 47 different fish and invertebrate species, and provides over 700 linear feet of documented Surf Smelt spawning habitat. in 2003 BILT was instrumental in the successful purchase of the Close Property which protects a significant pristine nearshore and marine riparian area and is part of the Gazzam Lake Preserve which is open for public enjoyment. Additionally, BILT holds 45 conservation easements of which 8 protect over 6,600 linear feet of privately held shoreline. We have assisted in the permanent protection and/or purchase of five public parcels representing an additional 9,900 linear feet of protected shoreline. The Powel Shoreline Restoration Project is an example of the many ways BILT helps steward, protect, and improve Bainbridge Island's natural resources.

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