Kick off boating season, good weather at Port of Tacoma's shoreline restoration site

The Port of Tacoma invites you to kick off boating season with a visit to the Richard C. “Dick” Gilmur Shoreline Restoration and Kayak Launch on Tacoma’s Commencement Bay.

Since the Port of Tacoma opened the site last summer, paddlers and bird watchers have flocked to the site on the bay’s east side. With parallel parking for four vehicles from dawn to dusk along Marine View Drive, the habitat and kayak launch offers another access point to appreciate the beauty of the region. The site’s restored shoreline provides habitat for the hundreds of birds and other wildlife that live along the storm-scoured shore. Native plants help anchor soil and provide shade, food and refuge. Other environmental features of the site include a “feeder” bluff that erodes like the natural shoreline and deposits sediments to beaches down current. Large woody material along the shoreline softens wave impacts to reduce erosion and provide hiding and resting places for young fish.

The parking area features pervious pavement that allows stormwater to filter into the ground. A wide ADA-accessible gravel path leads from the planted bluff to the rocky beach, allowing car-top boats to launch from the shore.

The site is named for the Port’s former environmental director, who worked for the Port from 1990 until his death in 2006. Gilmur recognized and embraced a holistic approach, finding creative ways to enhance habitat beyond the obligations, to leverage partnerships, and create something better than what was being replaced.

The Port of Tacoma bought 17 acres of shoreline along Marine View Drive in 2005 for $2.85 million to use for future habitat mitigation and restoration. With nine acres of submerged tidelands and eight acres of uplands, this property provides areas for the Port to conserve and protect intertidal and shallow subtidal habitat near port operations.

The Dick Gilmur Shoreline Restoration and Kayak Launch is among the first pieces of the property to be enhanced. As future Port development in the industrial areas of the Tideflats calls for mitigation elsewhere in Commencement Bay, the Port plans to restore the valuable intertidal habitat once prevalent in the bay. The property’s restored shoreline would provide a suitable home for eel grass, a resting and feeding area for juvenile salmon before they head out to Puget Sound, and home for the hundreds of birds and other wildlife that already carve out an existence along the shore.

The Richard C. “Dick” Gilmur Shoreline Restoration and Kayak Launch, located at 5002 Marine View Drive, is open dawn to dusk.

Photos of the site are online at .

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Port of Tacoma Commencement Bay habitat restoration, kayak launch open to public (07/06/11) —