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Watersheds, rivers and streams

Central Puget Sound

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Central Puget Sound Watershed

Puget Sound Nearshore Environments


Eelgrass BedsThe nearshore environment covers the most productive waters of Puget Sound. The nearshore encompasses a wide range of habitat types, from marshes and sandflats to kelp and eelgrass beds and upland areas. Ron Thom, a scientist from Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory, defines the nearshore as "the intertidal portion of the ecosystem that encompasses the tidally influenced portions of rivers and streams. The nearshore extends down to the depth where light can no longer support photosynthetic plants on the bottom."


Reconnaissance Assessment of the State of the Nearshore Report Including Vashon and Maury Islands (WRIAs 8 and 9)

Marine Shoreline Monitoring and Compliance Pilot Project

Juvenile Salmonid Composition, Timing, Distribution, and Diet in Marine Nearshore Waters of Central Puget Sound in 2001-2002

Beyond the Beach: Learn more about the Nearshore Environment


Bull KelpLearn about the integral role nearshore habitats play in our watershed ecosytems, particularly to salmon and other species. These educational graphics help explain nearshore physical and biological workings and stressors to the nearshore system.

View the graphics as a slideshow, or browse through them below.

Nearshore Processes

Salmon Use - Large RiverSalmon Use- Large River

Processes - Large River MouthLarge River Mouth Processes

Processes- Stream MouthStream Mouth Processes

Processes- Accreting BeachAccreting Beach Processes

Summary of Nearshore ProcessesSummary of Nearshore Processes

Typical Differences-
Before and After Development

Stream Mouth

Undeveloped Stream Mouth  
Before Development


Developed Stream Mouth 
After Development



Accreting Beach

Undeveloped Accreting Beach 
Before Development


Developed Accreting Beach 
After Development


Eroding Bluff

Undeveloped Eroding Bluff 
Before Development


Developed Eroding Bluff 
After Development


Summary of Nearshore Environments

Before Development

CompareUndeveloped Nearshore Environments

Developed Nearshore Environments 
After Development