Snohomish Railroad Grade Beach Nourishment

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Howarth Park after armoring removal and nourishment treatment.
Map of proposed nourishment sites.
This effort is linked to Coordinated Investment pilot work
Howarth Park before armoring removal and nourishment treatment.
This effort in the Carkeek to Everett Beach System is nourishing beaches by placing clean sedimentparticles of clay, silt, sand, gravel, or cobble, transported by water, are called sediment. at designated areas along the shore, and removing armoring at Howarth Park in the City of Everett. The effort is being monitored to evaluate the effects of beach nourishment actions along the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad grade.


  • Improve the quantity of potential forage fish habitat along the project reach,
  • Initially supply over 18,000 C.Y. of finer sediments (coarse sand and fine gravel) to the system,
  • Retain finer sediments in the upper intertidal (+5 MLLW to MHHWmean higher high water) over a reasonable time frame,
  • Provide delivery of gravel to adjacent shorelines,
  • Increase backshore width to encourage growth of riparian vegetation,
  • Remove riprap armoring,
  • Minimize adverse effects to key biological communities (particularly eelgrass), and
  • Enhance nearshore rearing habitat conditions for juvenile salmonids.


The University of Washington and Snohomish County surveyed target sites along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad grade before placement of new sedimentparticles of clay, silt, sand, gravel, or cobble, transported by water, are called sediment. and removal of armoring in summer 2016. The Snohomish County Beach Nourishment Project (SCBNP) is an ESRP portfolio project constructed in 2016. This project uses the SCBNP as the centerpiece of a monitoring effort to assess the functional success of nourishment and other treatments. Detailed beach monitoring is being conducted both within the beach nourishment region and south, where no nourishment has been done. In each region, four armored sites along the railroad and four reference sites with more natural shoreforms and vegetated beach characteristics in front of the railroad are being studied. Changes among years at the non-nourished sites are being compared to changes within the nourished region to help evaluate the short- and long-term effects of sedimentparticles of clay, silt, sand, gravel, or cobble, transported by water, are called sediment. addition on numerous shoreline functional responses.

Some sampling occurred in 2014, and extensive sampling was conducted in 2016 (pre-nourishment, and pre-armor removal at Howarth Park). Post-nourishment sampling was conducted in 2017 and 2018, and is planned for 2019. The 2019 data collection is the final year of current funding, after which analyses and a report will be completed on pre-post restoration data collected to date. Transect-based surveys and photographs are being used to collect data on:

  • Beach wrack and riparian cover and composition.
  • Upper-shore invertebrate populations (crustaceans and insects, primarily).
  • Beach topography, zonal widths and substrate size.
  • Benthic infauna at Mean Low Water.

In addition, other groups are conducting intensive monitoring of forage fish spawning along this shoreline. Some surf smelt eggs have already been found at the Howarth Park site following restoration there.