Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Grade

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This is a placeholder for a description of the unique and extensive effects of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad grade on nearshore sediment supply, transport, shoreline vegetation, and isolation of many historical embayment systems along the eastern shore of Puget Sound.

The BNSF Railroad strongly affects shoreline condition from Nisqually to Tacoma, Seattle to Everett, and in reaches of Whatcom County.


  • Snohomish County is leading beach nourishment efforts through the Snohomish Railroad Grade Beach Nourishment
  • SPU 8055 has a number of stream crossings under the railroad grade that have been considered for enhancement.
  • Titlow Beach (AKA SPU 3001) is a site for lagoon reconnection under the railroad grade.
  • Squalichew Creek Estuary is another site for stream reconnection through extensive fill.
  • Meadowdale Estuary Restoration is the first restoration of a stream mouth under the railroad grade, completed by Snohomish County at Meadowdale Park.
  • Prioritization of Coastal Streams Impacted by the Puget Sound Shoreline Railroad - The Puget Sound Habitat Strategic Initiative funded a prioritization of coastal stream mouths and embayments impacted by the railroad along the eastern shoreline of Puget Sound. Streams and embayments were prioritized based on their potential benefits for juvenile Chinook Salmon and other salmonid species. Project report and summary fact sheets were prepared and are available at these links: [1] and [2]. In a follow up phase started in early 2021, restoration planning is underway at specific sites and across the region. Information about this project phase is available here [3]. Contact Paul Schlenger (pschlenger@esassoc.com) for more information.