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Seawalls provide essential protection from coastal erosion and support for urban infrastructure in coastal cities worldwide. While many of the environmental impacts of existing seawalls are considered negative, when new seawalls are built, there is the opportunity to include more habitat-friendly designs into the new structures. In Seattle, Washington, USA,  the replacement of the aging central waterfront seawall is a top priority for the city. Currently, the  seawall is a vertical, relatively smooth concrete surface that does not support most of the ecological functions originally provided by natural beaches in the region. Given the importance of shorelines to juvenile salmon and other wildlife, the city is committed to incorporating fish-friendly designs in the new seawall.   Along with the City, the King Conservation District, and the federal Sea Grant program, the Wetland Ecosystems Team at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences is studying how the new Seattle Seawall might incorporate habitat enhancements that are beneficial to fish and other aquatic organisms. This website describes  research on large-scale test panels that were deployed to test the relative benefits of  different habitat designs that could be incorporated into the  seawall.   Results from the study of these panels can be found in the website and in full detail in a Master's thesis by Maureen Goff, which can be downloaded from the link below. 


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UW Wetland Ecosystem Team,
May 2, 2011, 3:32 PM
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