Table of Contents
I. EXECUTIVE sUMMARY*
II. Introduction and Objectives*
III. Legal Considerations*
A. Guidelines provided by Prior and Existing Municipal Actions*
1. Shoreline Management Master Program*
2. Harbor Management Plan*
3. Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan*
4. Bainbridge Island Municipal Code*
B. Existing laws and regulations affecting water borne activity in Eagle Harbor:*
IV. Description of Eagle Harbor.*
A. Physical Description*
B. Harbor Areas*
1. The entrance*
2. The main harbor*
3. Inner Harbor*
4. Aquatic Conservancy Zone.*
A. Current and Historical uses*
1. The entrance*
2. The main harbor*
3. Aquatic Conservancy Zone.*
B. Cultural/ Tribal Uses*
1. Indigenous populations*
VI. Environmental Assessment of Eagle Harbor*
B. General Description of Study Area*
3. Marine Environment*
4. Tributary Streams*
5. Historical Conditions*
6. Current Conditions*
C. Land Use*
1. Shoreline Access*
D. Marine Resources*
1. Submerged Aquatic Vegetation*
2. Shellfish and Other Invertebrates*
3. Marine Fin fish*
4. Forage Fish*
5. Pacific Salmon and Trout*
6. Waterfowl and Raptors*
7. Marine Mammals*
8. Reptiles and Amphibians*
9. Threatened and Endangered Species*
E. Water Quality, Sediments and Estuarine Habitat*
1. Water Quality Classification & Conditions*
2. Sediment Conditions*
3.Estuarine Habitat *
F. Habitat and Resource Enhancement Opportunities and Projects*
1. DOT Eelgrass Mitigation*
2. Off-Site Projects*
VII. Existing Use and safety considerations.*
A. Entrance area.*
B. Main harbor.*
C. Inner harbor.*
D. Aquatic Conservancy.*
VIII. Navigation Aids*
IX. Anchoring and Mooring Recommended Actions:*
B. Main Harbor*
3. Temporary Mooring.*
4. Long-term Mooring.*
5. Mooring ownership.*
6. Mooring design and maintenance requirements.*
7. Anchoring and mooring allocation.*
8. Commercial use.*
9. Health and safety.*
10. City-provided facilities.*
11. Administration and Enforcement.*
C. Inner harbor.*
X. FINANCING OPTIONS*
A. User Fees*
B. Grants and other outside sources*
EAGLE HARBOR ANCHORING AND MOORING PLAN
The Bainbridge Island Harbor Commission was tasked by the Harbor Management Plan with developing an Anchoring and Mooring Plan for Eagle Harbor. The Commission has considered a number of factors in developing the Recommended Actions which are the main functional part of this Plan. Included in those considerations are the character of Bainbridge Island and Eagle Harbor, the history and geography of the harbor, the historical uses of the harbor, its flora and fauna, safety, environmental responsibility, and the interests of the residents of Bainbridge Island and the citizens of the State of Washington.
The Anchoring and Mooring Recommended Actions, and information on potential Financing Options are attached to this Summary. The complete Draft Plan can be viewed on the City’s web site, or at City Hall.
This EAGLE HARBOR ANCHORING AND MOORING PLAN has been prepared by the Bainbridge Island Harbor Commission for submission to the citizens, elected officials and administrators of the City of Bainbridge Island, WA for their consideration and approval. The actions proposed in this document are in furtherance of and in accordance with the City of Bainbridge Island's Harbor Management Plan and the Shoreline Management Master Program as well as several related governmental ordinances, policies and regulations as further cited.
The objectives of this plan are as follows:
At the direction of the City Council, the Harbor Commission further proposes that this anchoring and mooring plan be implemented on a trial basis and that it be evaluated three years after its adoption to determine if established goals are being met and furtherance of the plan is warranted.
It should also be noted that, in addition to taking guidance from established municipal policies in the preparation of this plan, the Harbor Commission has given serious and due consideration to input and comments received from the general public, affected waterfront property owners, marina owners and other commercial operators, WSDOT ferry operation officials and a host of Federal, State and County agencies. In particular, the Harbor Commission has received detailed input from and worked closely with the Washington Department of Natural Resources in the development of this Plan,
Prior to all-island incorporation in 1991, Eagle Harbor was managed through the application of local and county ordinances enforced by the City of Winslow Police Department. In the interest of responsibly regulating the development and utilization of the island's harbors and shorelines and, in response to the requirements of the Washington Shoreline Management Act adopted by the state legislature, the City of Bainbridge Island developed and implemented the Shoreline Management Master Program (SMP) in 1996. The SMP contains a section identified as the Harbor Use and Safety Element, which supports the adoption of this Navigation, Anchoring and Mooring plan:
In 1996, the City appointed a harbor Management Advisory Committee to develop a Harbor Management Plan after soliciting input and initial recommendations from the University of Washington. In 1998, the City of Bainbridge Island adopted the Harbor Management Plan (HMP) which provides specific management guidelines regarding public use of Bainbridge Island's harbors, bays, municipally owned waterfront properties and other related marine resources. The Bainbridge Island Harbor Commission was subsequently created and charged with implementing the HMP. As pertaining to anchoring and mooring, it is the intent of the City that the following policies in the HMP be implemented:
Mooring: Provide safe and accessible mooring areas for resident and transient vessels, which consider the interests of all vessel and waterfront property owners.
Policy 1: Develop a master plan designating mooring areas working within the framework of existing Shoreline Master Program policy and regulations.
Policy 2: Encourage and establish a program for the public use of privately placed mooring buoys.
Policy 3: Establish regulations dealing with the placement, removal, type, identification, usage and fees of new and existing privately maintained mooring buoys, working within the framework of existing Shoreline Management Master Program policy and regulations. A consideration should be the ability to legally access mooring buoys from the shore. Eliminate unauthorized private mooring buoys
Policy 4: Promote the availability of transient mooring in the waters of Bainbridge Island. Establish, if and where appropriate, mooring buoys or other offshore mooring facilities for public use.
Policy 5: To the extent permissible by law, the City should have the exclusive right to charge fees for the placement, enhancement and use of all mooring buoys in city waters. A consideration in establishing fees for and priority use of, mooring buoys should be island residency.
Anchoring: Provide safe and accessible anchorage areas for resident and transient vessels, which consider the interests of all vessel and waterfront property owners.
Policy 1: Develop a master plan designating anchoring areas and time limits and other necessary regulations.
Policy 2: Promote the availability of public anchorage areas in the waters of Bainbridge Island.
The Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the City Council on September 1, 1994, to comply with requirements of the State’s Growth Management Act. Three of the fourteen general goals stated in the first page of the Introduction to the Plan are particularly applicable to this Plan:
Goal 5: Foster the diversity of the residents of the Island, its most precious resource
Goal 7: Provide a variety of housing choices for residents
Goal 11: Provide affordable housing.
The goals and policies of the Housing Element of the Comprehensive Plan are supported by data which shows the increasing unavailability of housing for low income residents on the Island, which will accelerate if necessary steps are not taken. The Housing Element has a specific policy pertaining directly to all liveaboards:
"Water-based housing (liveaboards) is a viable component of the present and future housing stock of Bainbridge Island, and shall be subject to applicable environmental protection standards."
The comprehensive plan also places a value on preserving the history of Bainbridge Island and its diverse cultural roots. Historically, the liveaboard community has contributed to the cultural and economic diversity of the community.
The Bainbridge Island Municipal Code 12.40.080 D. requires the City Council to designate an anchoring and mooring area at the recommendation of the Harbor Commission:
"Those live-aboard vessels which are permitted to remain within the city’s jurisdiction pursuant to this chapter may anchor or moor only in Eagle Harbor and only at the location or locations designated by the city, as provided in this section. The general anchorage location of permitted live-aboard vessels within Eagle Harbor shall be determined by the city council upon recommendation of the harbor commission. The city administrator shall determine the specific anchorage location of each individual live-aboard vessel. The designated anchorage location or locations shall be limited to an area or areas where the presence of the live-aboard vessels shall not compromise the public’s interest in water-dependent navigation, commerce, environmental quality and other related considerations. Until such time as the city designates the general and specific anchorage locations within Eagle Harbor pursuant to this section, the live-aboard vessels permitted to remain in Eagle Harbor pursuant to this chapter shall remain in the location they occupied as of the passage date of the ordinance codified in this section; provided, that any live-aboard vessels which are not located within Eagle Harbor as of the passage date of the ordinance shall move to a location within Eagle Harbor, as designated by the city administrator."
Numerous federal, state and local laws and regulations affect water borne activity in Eagle Harbor. The Commission is currently working with Joint agencies on Harbor Management projects:
12.24.040Nuisances designated – Removal required.
12.24.050Moored or anchored vessels or watercraft.
12.24.090Abatement of nuisances.
12.24.100Special events notices and special use permits.
12.24.110Use of dinghies.
12.24.115Unattended vessels or watercraft.
12.24.120Violation – Penalty.
12.40.010Jurisdiction and authorization.
12.40.020State statutes adopted.
12.40.030Federal statutes and regulations adopted.
12.40.060Speed limit – Eagle Harbor.
12.40.065Speed limit – Port Madison.
12.40.080Resident anchor-out live-aboard vessels.
12.40.110Creation and foreclosure of lien.
12.40.010Jurisdiction and authorization.
Title 13 PUBLIC SERVICES
13.12.030 Unlawful water discharge.
13.12.040 Floating vessels or structures.
Title 16 ENVIRONMENT
Chapter 16.12 SHORELINE MASTER PROGRAM*
16.12.150 Master program summary matrices.
16.12.180 Boating facilities.
16.12.190 Regulations – Boat launches.
16.12.260 Residential development.
16.12.340 Piers, docks, recreational floats, and mooring buoys.
16.12.140 Environment designations.
Goal 2, paragraph H2.3 (?) of the Housing Element of the Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan supporting water-based housing as a viable component of the present and future housing stock of Bainbridge Island, and shall be subject to applicable environmental protection standards. Also mentioned in Goal 5, 7, and 11 of Bainbridge Island Comprehensive Plan.
Eagle Harbor is a bay on the east side of Bainbridge Island, directly west of Seattle's Denny Regrade neighborhood. Eagle Harbor is about 1.8 miles north of the south end of the island. It extends inland to the west about 1.5 miles and then turns northwesterly for approximately another mile. The harbor's width ranges from about .6 mile near the mouth to about .25 mile where it turns northwesterly. Water depth below mean lower low tide near the center varies from about 60 feet near the mouth to about 26 feet at the turn. The last three-quarters of a mile is mudflat. Water area at mean higher high tide is approximately 483 acres.
The topography of the north shore gently rises from the beach, with low bank along most of the length. There are high banks in three places--one along the westerly part of the Wing Point area, one in an area just east of the ferry dock, and another between the foot of Madison Avenue and just west of Wood Avenue. A lagoon and marsh are west of the Wing Point area. West of the ferry dock is a large flat area, where mudflats were filled years ago to build a shipyard. Condominiums and the state ferry maintenance shop now occupy this area. The south shore is primarily high bank except for an area between the harbor mouth and a stream just west of Taylor Avenue, and the area west of the turn in the harbor. The shoreland around the head of the bay on both sides is flat with low bank. The head of the bay itself goes dry at low tide, exposing the mud which is the typical bottom condition throughout the harbor. Underlying the mud is hard clay.
There are six streams on the north side, two of which flow year round. The south side has three streams, of which only one flows year round. The remaining streams all flow seasonally.
Eagle Harbor usage is dominated by Washington State Ferries, which has a major terminal in Winslow and an associated maintenance facility to the west. Other uses are primarily recreational boating and limited commercial activity by local tug operators and waterfront contractors. There are several private marinas and yacht clubs in the marina, as well as numerous docks and piers, which are described more fully elsewhere in this report. The harbor also is host to many vessels anchored and moored randomly, a number of which are used as residences.
For the purposes of this report it is appropriate to consider Eagle Harbor as consisting of four distinct physical zones described herein as the entrance, the main harbor, the inner harbor, and the Aquatic Conservancy Zone.
The entrance is that area bounded by Wing Point and the buoyed entrance channel on the east to the western limit of the Washington State Ferries maintenance yard and the eastern boundary of the Eagle Harbor Marina on the south.
The main harbor continues west to a line across the Harbor at Stetson Point. This zone is the area, which sees the most intense private and commercial use. There are private, commercial marinas on both north and south shores. The north shore is also home to a public waterfront park and dock, and to a private yacht club marina. Commercial businesses and multi-family housing occupy most of the north shoreline in this zone. The south shore in this zone consists entirely of private, single-family housing from a point west of Eagle Harbor Marina, at Ward Avenue.
The inner harbor continues west to the eastern boundary of the Aquatic Conservancy Zone near Sunday Cove Marina. This zone is to a large extent visually separated from the main harbor. The harbor narrows down considerably at this point restricting large vessel traffic. Its shoreline, while not completely developed, is largely occupied by single and multi-family housing. There is a small undeveloped parcel on the north shore owned by the Bainbridge Island Park District. There are a number of private docks and private mooring buoys in the zone.
The Aquatic Conservancy Zone, in the far inner harbor, was established by the Bainbridge Island Shoreline Management Master Program, November 1996, BIMC 16.12.140 Environment Designations. The shoreline is occupied by residential housing, some undeveloped land, and, at the head of the bay, several commercial uses.
Vessels have anchored in Eagle Harbor since the 1800's to take shelter from storms, make repairs and perform routine maintenance and winter over between fishing seasons. Their crews, as well as early island settlers, reported that Suquamish Indians lived all around Eagle Harbor, where they harvested seafood, marine mammals, cedar and other resources. The Suquamish called the area "Place of the Eagles."
Residential uses on and around Eagle Harbor date back to its early days and records from 1885 show that the early settlers traveled by canoe or rowboat, and walked on logging roads, Indian trails and along the beach. The need for transportation between Seattle and Bainbridge soon became apparent, and the first steamer, TOLO, began operation in 1887. In 1901 the citizens of Winslow, which was then called Madrone, built the EAGLE to provide transportation to Seattle. The EAGLE later burned, and in 1903 E.L. Franks and some other investors set up the Eagle Harbor Transportation Company, which operated until about 1937. The Black Ball Ferry System followed the earlier company and operated in the sound until the 1950's, when the Washington State Ferry (WSF) took over. WSF also based their maintenance yard in Eagle Harbor.
Hall Brothers operated a dry dock and ship building facility at Madrone from 1902 until 1959. This new facility, which replaced one that operated at Port Blakely, was the largest on the pacific coast. Its 4,000 ton capacity marine railway—the largest in the region, and as large as New York’s—aided in the repair and maintenance of the Sound’s commercial fleet. The railway foundation is buried in the harbor bottom and is still viable. The Griffith family who built mine sweepers during World War II later owned the yard. Commercial Ship Repair then acquired the property and performed repair work and mothballing of small Navy ships. The yard was purchased by Todd Shipyard, who eventually deactivated it and sold the land to local investors. They in turn sold the land to Washington State Ferries, Russell Trask, and condominium developers.
Numerous other boatyards have operated in Eagle Harbor. Charlie Taylor's boatyard was located on the north shore, east of the ferry dock, and specialized in small fishing boats and yachts. Cecil Foss had a boat building and repair yard at the foot of Taylor Avenue in Eagledale until approximately 1980. Hornbeck had a boatyard on Stetson Place in Winslow and an unknown owner had a boatyard just west of the ferry dock. Trask owned a yard from 1962 until 1996, and Mark Julian owned a boat yard near the ferry maintenance facility from 1986-1997. Marine construction and tug companies have been based in Eagle Harbor over the last few decades, and today include Star Marine, Shively Tugs, Caicos Corp., Trask and the LARRY J.
In 1905 the creosote plant, originally called the Pike Preserver Company, moved from Port Madison to Eagle Harbor. The state later shut the plant down due to its adverse effects on marine wildlife and the environment.
Commercial shellfish harvesting and fishing in the harbor began to catch on around 1910. Al Davenport, an early harbor resident, is reported to have rowed Wing Point clams across the sound to Magnolia as early as the 1930's. Some commercial dive boats are still based in Eagle Harbor marinas, as are at least two commercial fishing vessels.
Strawberry farming was very well established on the island in the mid-1900's and a strawberry cannery was built on the north shore of Eagle Harbor's back bay though the building was totally destroyed by fire in 1997.
Unfortunately, environmental reports prepared in the 1980's revealed that the harbor's history of industry, including the wood preservation plant, shipbuilding, repair and maintenance activities and the unchecked use of harmful chemicals, had severely damaged marine life. In 1987 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the old Wyckoff wood preservation plant as a Superfund Site to facilitate investigation and cleanup of the vast quantities of harmful substances contaminating the site.
Though private industry is still alive in Eagle Harbor at the present time, it has faded over the years as environmental regulations and ferry facility expansions have forced the boatyards to change dramatically or shut down.
In the 1980's the City of Winslow built Waterfront Park with a public dock, small boat ramp and sewage pump out facility in an attempt to encourage tourism and increased recreational uses of Eagle Harbor. Bainbridge Parks & Recreation is providing sailing classes at the park and other recreational activities such as kayaking, scuba diving and boat rentals are available as well. A city authorized seasonal water ski area in the inner harbor also receives considerable use and float planes occasionally land in the harbor.
This zone sees a regular and high volume of vessel traffic in the established navigation channel, and limited recreational vessel operation (water skiing, rowing, kayaking, etc.) outside the navigation channel. There are several private mooring buoys in the vicinity of the Wing Point neighborhood on the north shoreline east of the ferry dock. The ferry docks, a condominium, and the ferry maintenance yard occupy the remainder of the north shore. This has also been the traditional location of a private, commercial boat yard.
There has traditionally been commercial vessel activity associated with the old Wykoff creosote plant on the south shore. The near shore area on the south side of the Harbor near the western limit of this zone has until recently been used for commercial barge moorage.
There are a number of private mooring buoys in the main harbor. Most of the transient vessels visiting Eagle Harbor anchor or moor in this zone, and it is home to the anchored-out vessel liveaboard community. A regular and significant amount of vessel traffic transits the north shore of this zone to access the various marinas and the City Waterfront Park dock and boat ramp. Commercial vessels from Seattle regularly transit this area for sightseeing. Vessels transiting along the south shore generally navigate through other boats at anchor. A de facto navigation channel on the north side of the main harbor is normally clear of anchored boats although, on typically busy summer weekends and holidays, it is not unusual for transients to be anchored in this area as well in the Inner Harbor.
A traditionally commercial site at the Old Strawberry Plant has not been redeveloped since the structure was destroyed by fire several years ago. A designated water skiing area is located in this zone. A Bainbridge Island Ordinance governing water skiing in this area restricts the area available to water-skiers. Shallow waters limit vessel activity at low tides. The tidelands and bedlands in this zone are privately owned, typically by the upland property owners.
Historically, there has been an automobile service station in this area, and the water and tidelands have been used to store a variety of shallow-draft commercial vessels and piling logs. The shore in this area now houses an auto repair facility, and a yard storing vehicles and vessels of various sorts. Vessel traffic in this area of the harbor is minimal and normally limited to local ingress or egress and small parties touring in kayaks and dinghies.
The Island’s protected waters, harbors, ports, coves, bays, bights, passages, estuaries, lagoons, spits and beaches have long offered safe haven for diverse human activities and natural systems. Indigenous peoples had year-round villages and residences on the Whulj, or saltwater, at least at Touchookwap in Port Madison, at Manzanita Bay, at Schel-chelb and Getes’ Place on Rich Passage and at Battle Point on Port Orchard Bay. Seasonal campsites and burial grounds were located on all harbors and many shorelines. These were primarily those of the Suquamish, but also included the Nisqually, Puyallup, Duwamish, Tulalip, and "B.C. Indians." Their archaeological and historic resources, 36 place names, and traditional fishing and harvesting practices survive today.
The Suquamish people lived, gathered food stuffs, ceremonial and spiritual items, and hunted and fished for thousands of years in western Washington. The Tribe used lands and waters north into what is now Canada, Whidbey, Blake and Bainbridge islands, and most of what is now Kitsap County. The Suquamish Tribe is active in protecting treaty rights.
In 1905, a group of mill workers, called the Fisher’s Gang, built several houseboats and lived on them in inner Eagle Harbor. Croatian fishermen also began to settle in Eagledale around this time. A few of them lived aboard their boats in Eagle Harbor. There was also a family that owned an Alaska trading vessel that wintered in Eagle Harbor.
1920 - 1930
By the 1930s the Croatian fishing boats had increased to a fleet of about ten with working crews of nine men each. Although most of the owners lived ashore, two of the owners lived on their boats and minimal crews lived aboard the other vessels in the harbor. The 1930s also brought an overall increase to the population of liveaboards as the Depression laid up about 12 large sailing cargo vessels. Two of these ships housed sea captains and their families while the others had a skeleton crew of watchmen living aboard them. Port Madison at this time saw three nine-man fishing boats and close to six two- man commercial salmon trawlers. The trawlers all anchored out and were owned by Norwegian fishermen. For entire summers several power yachts anchored in the Port Madison bay with families living aboard along with one large and one small houseboat there. Port Blakely and Fletcher Bay also had their share of moored fishing vessels including a bottom fish dragger and several halibut boats. It is assumed but unknown if fishermen lived aboard these vessels.
1940 - 1960
During WW II the number of liveaboards began to decrease. The sailing ships moored in Eagle Harbor were commissioned by the government and cut down into barges for the Navy. The fishing fleet was reduced as men were drafted into the war. After these reductions, the liveaboard population remained fairly low into the 1950s and 1960s with one retired and several working fishermen and a creosote worker in Eagle Harbor, three others in Port Madison and one family that lived aboard a mine sweeper. None of the vessels mentioned ever moored at marinas though some did stay at private docks. Others were sometimes pulled up on mud flats and still others rode at anchor. The large sailing ships often had anchors set out in the middle of the bay and stern lines moored to large tree stumps ashore.
1970 - present
By the early 1970s the liveaboard population began to grow in all harbors including Blakely Harbor for a number of reasons. The advent of fiberglass boats made boating more accessible and popular for the general public. The increase of the live ashore population on the island raised rents, and cut back the availability of inexpensive homes and land. Professional mariners moved back into the area and some, as in past generations, chose to live and work on boats. Other people began to seek a simpler lifestyle with a closer connection to the sea and all of nature. As a result, the population of liveaboard vessels in all harbors reached about 20 vessels in the early 1980s and peaked at about 35 in the early 1990s. As of April 1998, there were 31 liveaboard vessels in three harbors with all but three in Eagle Harbor.
Much like past generations, many liveaboards still heat and cook on wood stoves, read by oil lamps, shun modern electrical conveniences and row their skiffs to shore to haul food, water, garbage, waste and supplies. Others have embraced a more modern environmental attitude by using wind generators and solar panels to enhance their rugged lifestyle with modest accouterments. Like Bainbridge Island’s liveaboards of the past, some of them frequent our harbors only seasonally while others stay for years before moving on, honoring a nomadic lifestyle that is and has been traditional among seafaring peoples of the world.
The comprehensive plan places a value on preserving the history of Bainbridge Island and its diverse cultural roots. Historically, the liveaboard community has contributed to the cultural and economic diversity of the community.
In 1998, the Liveaboard Ad Hoc Committee informally polled various groups (including waterfront property owners, the liveaboard community, business owners, service providers, City Council members, and neighborhood groups) to ask what they thought were important issues relating to the liveaboard community. The following list of issues were identified:
These issues are addressed in the either the Eagle Harbor Anchoring and Mooring Plan, or the Eagle Harbor Operations Manual.
Eagle Harbor currently sees regular and heavy use, and the purpose of this plan is largely to coordinate and rationalize that use. Nevertheless, the development and adoption of this plan provides an opportunity to ensure that the environmental goals of the Harbor Management Plan and the Shoreline Management Plan Master Program are being met. The immediate action area as it pertains to the Eagle Harbor Mooring and Anchorage Plan will be limited to the Main Harbor thatis currently (and historically) populated with moored and anchored vessels. After careful review of existing biological data the Harbor Commission concludes and wishes to affirm to the community that the plan will not materially degrade any aspect of the Eagle Harbor environment or wildlife that depends on it. To the contrary, through the use of more environmentally friendly mooring systems as well as application of rules that will help the harbor meet Kitsap County water quality standards, the plan will significantly diminish negative impacts on the harbor environment by existing uses (anchoring and mooring).
The scope of the environmental information presented in this report includes all areas of Eagle Harbor, as it is the normal practice to describe areas that are adjacent to action areas and potentially affected by activities of this type. Relatively recent assessments have been done in connection with the Wyckoff EPA Superfund Site, as well as the expansion of the ferry system docks and maintenance yard. These studies are the basis for much of the information below.
Eagle Harbor is a bay of approximately 0.8 square miles on the eastern side of Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County, Washington, in Central Puget Sound. The current coastline is the result of glacial forces on a pre-Pleistocene river-valley landscape. As the continental ice sheets melted, sea level rose and marine waters entered Puget Sound, producing the present islands and bays. The late-Pleistocene continental ice also left thick deposits of glacial and fluvial outwash (till). This type of unconsolidated material underlies most of Eagle Harbor area to depths of 1000 feet. Bainbridge Island is about 3.4 miles wide and 10 miles long. Its surface is gently rolling, and the elevation ranges from sea level to about 400 feet above sea level. The island has one lake and numerous small ponds and reservoirs. Surface drainage is primarily by short, spring-fed streams that discharge directly into the sound.
The area typically has warm, dry summers and cool wet winters. July is the warmest month and January the coldest. The mean annual precipitation is about 40 inches, most of it falling as light to moderate rain from October through March. Prevailing winds are from the south or southwest in winter and the west or northwest in summer.
Eagle Harbor is a narrow east-west oriented bay, approximately 2.2 miles long and 0.4 miles wide near its mouth. The maximum depth of -50 feet MLLW occurs in the eastern portion of the harbor. About a quarter of the harbor consists of scattered areas of tidal flat and an extensive shoal area, which extends in a southeast direction from Wing Point at the harbor entrance. The extreme western end of the harbor consists entirely of tidal flats fully exposed daily during moderately low tides. This area has been officially designated by the City of Bainbridge Island as a Aquatic Conservancy Zone.
Circulation within Eagle Harbor is driven principally by tidal forces, modified somewhat by the effects of winds, salinity and temperature differentials, and harbor oscillations. The flow is generally along the harbor axis except in the vicinity of the south shoal, where an eddy-like feature is created during both the ebb and flood tides.
There are nine streams that flow into the Harbor, six on the north side, and three on the south side. Three of them are type Four and one is type five. The others are intermittent streams. (based on DNR Land Use map)
There are very few records to reconstruct the biological and physical conditions of Eagle Harbor prior to Euro-American settlement of Bainbridge Island. However, it is reasonable to assume that Eagle Harbor was typical of bays within Puget Sound. Like other relatively enclosed bays, Eagle Harbor likely supported a varied near-shore environment of mudflats, sandflats cobble/gravel beaches and emergent marshes, depending on exposure to wave energy. There are no major freshwater rivers entering the bay and delivering large amounts of sediments that would support the expansive areas of salt marsh typically associated with the large river systems (i.e., Duwamish, Puyallup). The western apex of the bay still supports a large mudflat with fringing marshes, which is likely not much different from historic conditions. The adjacent upland areas supported typical lowland Puget Sound forest communities, dominated by Douglas Fir, western hemlock and western red cedar.
The Eagle harbor aquatic habitats likely supported a variety of resident and migratory fish and wildlife species. The small streams very likely supported spawning salmonid populations (coho, chum and coastal cutthroat trout). Although there are no records of use, coho and cutthroat trout have been observed at a small creek entering the head of Eagle Harbor. Whether they spawned successfully is not known. In a study of Blakely Harbor, researchers found that all species of salmon including cutthroat trout were in the harbor, usually during the peak of juvenile migration and usually in significant numbers. Blakely Harbor is similar in site and situation to Eagle Harbor, so it is likely that the same kind of use can be expected in Eagle Harbor. The study in Blakely Harbor noted that the juvenile fish were more likely to be found in the shallower reaches of the inner harbor, but juveniles were found both in the inner harbor and the outer harbor. As such, it is reasonable to assume that juveniles also currently use Eagle Harbor for feeding and refugia and very likely did so in the past. Eagle Harbor is a good distance from any areas that would support bull trout. However, it would not have been impossible for individual fish to make their way to Eagle Harbor.
It is believed that there was an historic Chum run in Taylor Creek on the south side of Eagle Harbor. Restoration efforts have been made, but there have been no recent sightings of Chum in Taylor Creek.
Most of the habitat losses in the harbor can be associated with commercial, industrial and residential development along the shoreline. Almost all of the Eagle Harbor shoreline has some kind of shoreline protection feature in the form of either a bulkhead or riprap. Areas of emergent marsh or tideflats were filled long ago along the developed waterfront shorelines of the harbor. Residential development along the Puget Sound shoreline north and south of Eagle Harbor has also resulted in an almost continuous stretch of armored shoreline. There are no acreage estimates of intertidal or shoreline habitat prior to settlement, so overall habitat loss cannot be estimated. Although anthropogenic influences are definitely evident today, the losses or conversion of habitat are not the magnitude typically seen in urbanized estuaries such as Elliott Bay and Commencement Bay. Although much of the shoreline has bulkheads or other forms of armoring, there is a significant amount of remaining intertidal and shallow subtidal habitat. The area of concern is the high level of contamination of the marine sediments near the harbor entrance and the upland areas around the now defunct lumber treatment facility known as the Wyckoff EPA Superfund Site.
Fairly extensive eelgrass beds are found offshore of the Puget Sound shorelines (along both Bill & Wing Points). There is no historical record of the extent of eelgrass in the area, so it is not possible to determine if this habitat was once more extensive.
The level of industrial use of the harbor has been reduced dramatically since the 1980's. Today, the only major marine operation is the Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) ferry maintenance facility on the north shoreline of the harbor. The shoreline is otherwise mostly residential development with some commercial facilities and marinas serving the needs of recreational boaters. Although Eagle Harbor is a popular boating destination for recreational boaters, there are no vessel fueling facilities in the harbor.
Due to the high degree of contamination of the marine sediments in the harbor, the State of Washington prohibits recreational and commercial fishing or gathering of shellfish. Common shoreline features include constructed bulkheads, riprap armored banks, small docks and piers and medium sized commercial marinas. EPA removed the large dock at the Wyckoff property in 1999. The only remaining large docks are at the WSDOT maintenance facility and at the WSDOT ferry terminal.
The principal center of population and commerce on the island is immediately north of Eagle Harbor. Land use in most of the lowland and shoreline areas is largely residential. The upland areas are lightly developed, mostly as residential areas. Logging and berry farming were once common, but both have diminished in the last 20 to 30 years.
In addition to the Waterfront Park, Shoreline Access is public at the following road ends in Eagle Harbor:
Most of the following information has been gathered from examining the effects of contaminated sediments on biological resources in Eagle Harbor. Other sources of data included the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Suquamish Tribe. The earliest contaminant studies (e.g., Malins et al 1985) examined the biological effects of contaminated sediments and were selective for bottom dwelling fish, so they do not represent a full species profile of the bay. However, they do provide some information on fish either caught or observed during sampling.
A 1999 DNR survey shows that there is still eelgrass in Eagle Harbor, but only along Wing Pt. from the salt marsh out. No eelgrass was found anywhere else in the harbor. As recently as the early 70's, according to the Coastal Zone Atlas, there was eelgrass from the ferry terminal out to
Wing Pt. At the time of this writing, the WSDOT eelgrass plantings have not taken hold.
There are enormous amounts of green algae in the harbor, which has the effect of smothering out eelgrass. The green algae is evidence of high nutrients from typical nonpoint sources such as failing septic systems, boats, creeks, storm water carrying fertilizers from landscaped yards. It also leads to other water quality problems. When the algae dies, its decomposition deprives other creatures of oxygen and can eventually lead to a decrease in fish/invertebrates.
The Puget Sound Environmental Atlas indicates that sea cucumbers and urchins are found within Eagle Harbor and along the adjacent Puget Sound shoreline. The Atlas also notes that geoducks, softshell clams, and other clam species are found in the intertidal and shallow subtidal areas in the adjacent Puget Sound waters. A representative of the Suquamish, a treaty tribe with harvesting rights in Eagle Harbor, has indicated that it is doubtful that commercial densities of shellfish exist in the proposed action area and that no harvesting in the area is under consideration.
EPA measured the abundance of four major taxonomic groups of benthic infaunal organisms (crustacea, polychaeta, mollusca, and amphipoda) at several stations in Eagle Harbor during their remedial investigation. This was compared with background stations elsewhere in Puget Sound. The abundance of crustacea, mollusca, and amphipoda were generally similar to those at the background stations, whereas those of polychaeta were distinctly higher in Eagle Harbor. This is attributed to the presence of contaminated sediments within the harbor.
A 1984-video survey of the harbor bottom, as described in the Remedial Investigation Report (EPA 1989), provided information on the resident benthic epibiota. The distribution of these organisms appeared to be correlated with the occurrence of bottom features such as the ferry scour zone, bottles and wood debris, logs, and sediment surface gouges.
In studies conducted for the EPA it was reported that English sole was the most abundant species sampled in the harbor. Moderate numbers of rock sole, C-O sole and a few sand sole were also caught. The second most abundant species was the shiner perch, followed by ratfish. At least two species of rockfish, spotted greenling, sand dabs, starry flounder and several other species typical of Puget Sound bays were also caught. During EPA’s remedial investigation of their site, pile perch were also noted to be common. Trawl studies conducted in 1993 confirm the above findings and also indicate limited quantities of Pacific tomcod, Staghorn sculpin and spiny dogfish.
Surf smelt and sand lance both spawn on beaches within Eagle Harbor. Eagle Harbor is one of only two currently documented year-round surf smelt spawning areas in Puget Sound. WDFW has identified an additional surf smelt spawn site along the Puget Sound shoreline south of Bill Point. These findings were corroborated by a biological evaluation done in connection with a construction project proposed by Caicos Corporation in July 2000. These species are upper intertidal sand/gravel spawners and as such moorage and anchoring activities have little to no effect on them. Pacific Herring have been observed in harbor environs from time to time but no spawning areas for this species currently exist in Eagle Harbor.
There are virtually no records of anadromous fish use in Eagle Harbor, however the Washington State Salmon and Steelhead Stock Inventory (WDFW 1997) indicates that coho and winter steelhead likely use the area for resting, feeding, and refugia. There are no records of the small tributaries supporting spawning chinook , however, it is likely that juveniles from other river and stream systems use the area for resting, feeding, and refugia during migration. The small coastal streams found around Bainbridge Island typically can support chum salmon although actual spawning has not been confirmed in any of the streams that flow into Eagle Harbor. There are no records of bull trout in the project area. The nearest spawning populations are on the Skagit and Puyallup Rivers. It is noted that bull trout have been occasionally found along the western Puget Sound shorelines. However, it is not a typical location for bull trout because of the distance from a large freshwater source.
Waterfowl species that are likely to be found in Eagle Harbor include greater scaups, lesser scaups, ring-necked ducks, surf scoters, white-winged scoters, American widgeons, great blue heron, Canada geese, mallards, common goldeneye, mergansers and bufflehead. Other species that may occur include western grebe, double-crested cormorants, Pacific loons, American coots, and pigeon guillemots.
Although several species of gulls occur in and around the bays of Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap peninsula, glaucous-winged gulls are the most commonly observed during the Kitsap Audubon Bird count and are abundant along the water front areas. Shorebirds include sandpipers, dunlins, and snipe. The wading birds are generally present along the sandy shorelines.
A diverse community of songbirds (e.g., wrens, thrushes, vireos, warblers, sparrows, and finches) is associated with vegetated shoreline areas. Owls, bald eagle, red-tail hawk, and osprey that reside in upland forests may also be found. Bald eagle and marbled murrelet are federally listed threatened or endangered bird species that may be found in Eagle Harbor.
Little information is available on the historical or current distribution and abundance of mammals on Bainbridge Island and around Eagle Harbor. Nearshore habitats in Pacific Northwest estuaries are known to support the following common mammals that reside and feed in marsh or mudflat communities: rabbit, opossum, squirrel, weasels, raccoon, river otter, mice, rats, skunk, shrews, muskrat, and nutria. Coyotes are present in many suburban areas and may be using the tideflats in Eagle Harbor.
Harbor seal, California sea lion, killer whale, harbor porpoise, Dall’s porpoise, and gray whale have been observed in southern Puget Sound. The closest seal pupping ground to Eagle Harbor is Gertrude Island, south of the Tacoma Narrows. It is not known whether seals pupping on Gertrude Island use Eagle Harbor. Small groups of Dahl’s porpoise are seen year-round in south Puget Sound and may breed in the south Sound.
Steller sea lion and humpback whale are the only marine mammal species potentially within Eagle Harbor that are federally proposed or listed as threatened or endangered species though there have been no reported observations.
Amphibians and reptiles are found around Eagle Harbor, although species presence, abundance, and distribution will be limited by habitat alteration within the urbanized areas. Within the area, the northern red-legged frog, northwestern pond turtle, and spotted frog are sensitive species identified by the state.
No amphibian species within Eagle Harbor are federally proposed or listed as threatened or endangered. The leatherback sea turtle is listed as a threatened or endangered species by NMFS though no observations of these have been reported in Eagle Harbor.
Potential impacts on federally listed or proposed threatened or endangered species
Nesting and wintering populations in almost all recovery areas in Washington, including the West Cascade Mountains recovery zone, have reached levels that will allow de-listing. However, habitat loss, degradation, and major disturbance factors continue to be serious problems that must be guarded against to assure population gains are not diminished. Resident bald eagles are present in the vicinity of the proposed anchorage and moorage area with nesting sites likely within 2 miles. The bald eagle is a bird of aquatic ecosystems and it frequents estuaries, large lakes, reservoirs, major rivers, and seacoast habitats. Bald eagles are frequently observed capturing finfish in the surrounding open waters of Puget Sound and feeding upon aquatic prey exposed during tidal fluctuations in the back reaches of Eagle Harbor. The minimal food foraging that occurs in the main part of the harbor is unlikely to be affected by the planned reorganization of moored vessels. Given the nature and location of the proposed moorage area there is not expected to be any direct or indirect effects upon bald eagles as a result of implementation of the plan.
Marbled murrelets are small seabirds of the family Alcidae, which includes puffins, murres, and auklets. They are about 10 inches long and occur along the north Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands and southern Alaska south to Central California. The occurrence of marbled murrelets in Eagle Harbor is rare and nesting sites have not been seen in the vicinity. They are not expected to nest in the vicinity due to the lack of old growth forests. The nearest critical habitat is on the Olympic Peninsula approximately 20 miles to the west. Marbled murrelets may forage within Eagle Harbor, but they have rarely been seen around Bainbridge Island. A few have been sighted in the winter Kitsap Audubon Society surveys near Agate Pass, Rich Passage, and Liberty Bay. Low numbers have been observed near Blake Island. In a Puget Sound seabird survey report submitted to the Northwest Indian Fisheries by SEI in 1997, murrelets were expected to reside in Port Madison at the northern end of the island but none were observed. Given the nature and location of the proposed action there should be no direct or indirect effects upon marbled murrelets as a result of implementation of the plan.
Stellers are found throughout the North Pacific rim from Japan to central California. Unlike California sea lions, Stellers tend to remain offshore or haul out in unpopulated areas. Breeding occurs along the North Pacific rim from Año Nuevo Island in central California to the Kuril Islands North of Japan, with the greatest concentration of rookeries in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. There are no Stellar sea lion rookeries in the State of Washington, although Steller sea lions are occasionally found in Washington State waters. They move into Puget Sound in the fall and forage throughout the inland waters. Their favorite haul-out areas are in northern Puget Sound at Race Rocks, Sombrio Point, and Sucia Island, but are rare south of Admiralty Inlet. It is unlikely that Stellar Sea Lion are present in the vicinity of the proposed anchorage and moorage area and there have been no reported observations. Given the nature and location of the proposed action there should be no direct or indirect effects upon Stellar Sea Lion as a result of implementation of the plan.
Chinook salmon are the largest of the Pacific salmon with individuals over 120 pounds recorded. Like all Pacific salmon, chinook reproduce in fresh water but spend the majority of their life cycle in the marine environment. Chinook remain at sea an average of 2 to 4 years before returning to their natal stream to spawn. Chinook are generally classified either as ocean or stream type. Ocean-type fish are characterized by a short juvenile freshwater residence time and normally migrate to estuarine areas within their first year (usually around three months after emergence from spawning gravel). They typically return to their natal stream a few days or weeks before spawning. Stream-type chinook typically spend one or more years in fresh water before migrating to the sea and often return to their natal streams several months prior to spawning. The majority of Puget Sound chinook salmon including those that may use Eagle Harbor are ocean-type, which migrate out as sub-yearlings.
Estuaries are an important rearing habitat for all species of salmon, but chinook are probably the most dependent on this type of habitat. Salmon use estuaries for rearing, refugia from predators, and as a physiological transition area. Rapid growth also occurs in estuaries due to the abundance of preferred prey. Rivers with well-developed estuaries are generally able to better sustain larger ocean-type populations than those without. Juvenile chinook rear in estuaries for a period of days to two months. They range in size from 35 to 160 mm in length when entering the estuary. Ocean-type chinook is usually smaller and tends to utilize estuaries and coastal areas more extensively for rearing than stream-type juveniles.
No chinook spawning streams are found in the near vicinity of the proposed moorage area and there are no studies looking at occurrence or abundance in Eagle Harbor. However, migrating juvenile chinook will likely use Eagle Harbor for feeding, resting, and refugia. The forage fish upon which Chinook might depend are upper intertidal sand/gravel spawners whose population will not be affected by mooring and anchoring in the main harbor area over a mud bottom.
Given the nature and location of the proposed action there should be no direct or indirect effects upon chinook salmon as a result of implementation of the plan.
There are virtually no reliable records of juvenile salmon migration periods for chinook salmon in Eagle Harbor. The closest area with documented chinook presence was in Blakely Harbor (to the south). This information did not include periods of juvenile migration or abundance. Although Eagle Harbor is a good distance from natal chinook streams (Puyallup and Duwamish Rivers), some use of the harbor by juvenile migrants, likely after their earliest exiting period from the natal streams, is assumed. Given the nature and location of the proposed action there should be no direct or indirect effects upon chinook salmon as a result of implementation of the plan.
The status and occurrence of anadromous populations of bull trout in Puget Sound are subject to some scientific debate. Separating anadromous bull trout from the closely related anadromous Dolly Varden Char is very difficult and can only be accomplished using electrophoretic techniques. Until further resolution is possible, WDFW has made a decision to manage all Puget Sound stocks as if they were a single bull trout/Dolly Varden complex.
Two distinct life-history forms, migratory and resident, occur throughout the range of bull trout. Migratory forms rear in natal tributaries before moving to larger rivers or lakes or the ocean to mature. Migratory bull trout may use a wide range of habitats ranging from second- and sixth-order streams and varying by season and life stage. Seasonal movements may range up to 190 miles as migratory fish move from spawning and rearing areas into overwintering habitat in downstream reaches of large basins. The resident form may be restricted to headwater streams throughout life. Both forms are believed to exist together in some areas, but migratory fish may dominate populations where corridors and subadult rearing areas are in good condition.
Bull trout appear to have more specific habitat requirements than most other salmonids. Habitat characteristics, including water temperature, substrate composition, cover, stream size and hydraulic complexity, have been associated with distribution and abundance.
Bull trout spawn from August through November; however, migratory bull trout frequently begin spawning migrations as early as April. Bull trout incubation period is long (4 to 5 months) compared with other salmon and trout. Fry hatch in late winter or early spring and remain in the gravel for up to 3 weeks before emerging. A few weeks after emerging, some bull trout migrate to salt water, while the remainder stay in the streams where they hatched. Growth, maturation, and longevity vary with environment; first spawning is often noted after age four, with individuals living 10 or more years.
Small bull trout eat terrestrial and aquatic insects. Large bull trout are primarily fish predators, eating whitefish, sculpins, juvenile salmon, and other trout. Bull trout and chinook salmon feed primarily on pelagic organisms though bull trout are less dependent on nearshore habitat than chinook.
Bull trout may occur in the proposed moorage area, however, there are no records or studies that indicate their presence and/or abundance in Eagle Harbor. It is assumed that bull trout may be present in the area during chinook migration. Given the nature and location of the proposed action there should be no direct or indirect effects upon bull trout as a result of implementation of the plan.
There are no studies of turbidity within Eagle Harbor however there has been a least one study of sediment dynamics that indicate that there are no conditions that will result in high turbidity. There are no major rivers or streams that deliver high sediment loads. As such, the adjacent shorelines are sediment starved because of the high degree of shoreline armoring all through the action area. The highest source of turbidity in Eagle Harbor is likely periodic pulses of sediments from rainfall events and minor pulses from prop-wash by the ferry traffic. There is no data indicating that these conditions result in turbidity levels significantly beyond background conditions.
Eagle Harbor is located in the glaciated trough of Puget Sound. Puget Sound naturally stratifies as the dense, cold ocean water periodically pushes into the Sound. It is likely that even prior to Euro-American settlement portions of the Sound suffered from seasonally reduced dissolved oxygen (DO) conditions, especially in the southern reaches.
Under current conditions, Eagle Harbor likely follows the patterns of similar bays in Puget Sound. Colder, dense marine waters typically move into the shallow bays under certain tidal or current conditions and then stagnate for a certain period (dependent upon conditions within the bay) until another water mass moves in. During these stagnation periods, DO typically decreases at rates dependent upon sediment oxygen demand, temperature, fresh water influx, and other conditions. Although the Department of Ecology does not identify this area as being a persistently stratified estuary, it is likely that the area does experience decreased DO with depth and during the summer months. EPA evaluated DO conditions at some of the nearest water quality sampling stations for the Department of Ecology’s Ambient Water Quality Monitoring program (WDOE Web Page, Conditions and Trends). All the stations show at least typical stratification conditions in Puget Sound, with some readings below 5 mg/L at the sediment surface during the summer and early fall months. Generally, water column surface readings stayed above 7 mg/L during the same times.
The DO conditions in Eagle Harbor are partially natural conditions to which the salmon and bull trout populations have adapted; they have likely adapted to avoid low seasonal DO conditions. However, Eagle Harbor is an urbanized bay and any number of controlled or uncontrolled discharges may exacerbate the water quality conditions that might extend or increase the severity of low DO concentrations and that might affect the nearshore environment. Both fish species will generally avoid low DO areas. However, if low DO conditions persist or occur at times when these species are present, it would decrease access to the available feeding and refuge areas.
The State of Washington has established water quality criteria (WQC) for the protection of aquatic life. For the purposes of this report, COBI has adopted these WQC for determining the presence of chemical contamination and thus a degraded habitat. EPA determined that multiple WQC exceedances, or the presence of waters listed as degraded under Section 303 (d) of the Clean Water Act, indicated degraded habitat.
Eagle Harbor has multiple exceedances on the 303(d) list for water quality. However, all of exceedances are due to sediment bound contaminants. Indicators of quality of the water column, such as dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and fecal coliform, have no exceedances. Although there has been no water quality sampling associated with the water column environment within Eagle Harbor, Ecology has been studying the effects of contaminated sediments on water quality within the water column. For example, Ecology monitored both the water column and sediment traps to monitor pollutants attached to suspended particulates in the water column in several waterways of Commencement Bay. It determined that water quality continues to be degraded by contaminant exposure because of the re-suspension of contaminated bottom sediments. As such, Ecology believes that Commencement Bay will not be able to meet water quality conditions until the contaminated sediments have been cleaned-up. The same condition is true for Eagle Harbor; water quality will continue to be degraded until source control is achieved and contaminated sediments are isolated from the aquatic environment. No anchoring is proposed in the capped "entrance" area of the harbor where contaminated sediments are known to be present. It is therefore not expected that the proposed activity will result in the re-suspension of contaminated bottom sediments. To the contrary, it is expected that management of the mooring and anchoring area by the Harbormaster will significantly reduce the possibility of illegal anchoring over the capped area.
Salinity in Eagle Harbor is similar to levels in Puget Sound, at approximately 27.5-28.5 parts per thousand. Measurements of piezometric heads and salinity of the interstitial water in the near surface sub-tidal sediments indicate that fresh water discharges into the harbor exist in several sub-tidal and inter-tidal areas near Bill Point and the main harbor area. However, fresh water inflow is minimal and as such does not substantially affect salinity in the harbor.
Three major types of sediments are carried into Eagle Harbor: beach-derived material from shoreline erosion and long-shore transport; terrestrially derived material from surface water runoff; and material suspended in waters from Puget Sound.
Movement of the bottom sediments within Eagle Harbor is limited. Most of the coarser sediments (sands) are deposited near where they enter the harbor, and most of the fines are flushed into the main body of the sound. Only the intermediate fractions are subjected to much intra-harbor erosion and deposition. Sediment is also mobilized in the eastern portion of the main harbor area by prop-wash from the Washington State Ferries.
Two types of inter-tidal environments exist in the Eagle harbor area. The first are the beach areas along Bill Point and directly across the harbor at Wing Point. Both of these areas are exposed to waves from the sound. These beaches are generally sand-starved and consist mostly of gravel and cobble because of the relatively high long-shore transport rates and lack of available sediments. The second type of environment is the inter-tidal area within the harbor itself. These areas are in a lower energy regime and are primarily influenced by tidal cycles rather than waves. The sediments in these areas generally are fine sands and silts.
The distribution of sediments in the sub-tidal portion of Eagle Harbor reflects the general pattern of water movement there. Fine-grained material occurs primarily in the inner harbor of the harbor because of the generally weaker currents there and the relatively larger input of fine-grained material from the intermittent streams that empty into it. In contrast, the entrance of the harbor contains mostly coarser sediments such as sands. The main harbor is primarily mud bottom.
The high degree of sediment contamination currently found in Wykcoff area of Eagle Harbor, either beneath the 54-acre clean sediment cap, or in unremediated areas between the cap and shoreline, is a product of very recent history, to which local fish populations have probably not adapted. There are probably background conditions of naturally occurring contaminants; however, most of the chemical pollutants can be traced back to relatively recent anthropogenic sources.
Sediments in the East Harbor are contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and other hazardous substances. They far exceed SMS standards for marine sediments.
In 1998, WSDOT as part of the EPA Superfund mitigation targeted the contamination (polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and mercury) west of the existing WSDOT repair facility. The mercury ‘hotspot" sediments were removed and the area was capped. Eelgrass was planted on .6 acres in the area.
Although Eagle Harbor is not an estuary in the sense that there is no large source of freshwater input, the intertidal areas of the harbor support sand and mudflats, intertidal beaches, eelgrass beds and fringing marshes. There is no clear historical record of the extent of these habitats prior to euro-american settlement. However, the existing shoreline is almost entirely armored and there is evidence of past fill events along the shoreline. Imported fill material is evident at the Wyckoff property as well as dredging along the old West Dock area. It is highly likely this kind of development activity happened elsewhere around the harbor. Filling, dredging and armoring have diminished the historical extent as well as the function of intertidal habitats around the area. The areas of habitat remaining throughout the bay are isolated by development between the habitat patches. WDFW has mapped surf-smelt spawning beaches along the northern and southern Eagle Harbor shorelines and south of Bill Point on the Puget Sound shoreline as well as sand land spawning on the southern Eagle Harbor shoreline (Penttila 1999). Large eelgrass beds still exist on the Puget Sound side of Bill and Wing Point.
No activity is proposed along the shoreline in either the spawing areas or eelgrass beds. To the contrary, by better containing mooring and anchoring in the middle of the harbor, proposed actions under this plan will serve to protect shoreline areas into the future.
As part of the mitigation done by WSDOT for the Wyckoff/Eagle Harbor Superfund site, WSDOT has planted 0.6 acres of eelgrass in the COBI aquatic lease area between the City dock and the WSDOT Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility. As of this time, the Harbor Commission understands that this mitigation attempt has failed.
There may be opportunities in Eagle Harbor to restore stretches of degraded beach by augmenting the coastal sediments supply. As indicated earlier, many shoreline reaches are sand-starved due to human-caused shoreline modifications. Careful and strategic placement of soft shoreline treatments such as sand and gravel can provide an alternative to bulkhead and an increase in the biological productivity of nearshore habitat.
Restoration of Eelgrass beds along the north shore in areas known to have supported submerged aquatic vegetation historically should also be explored. Stream systems draining into Eagle Harbor such as at the head of the bay and from the ravine also offer opportunities for restoration.
The following discussion deals only with use of the harbor outside established commercial and private marinas. Commercial marinas in Eagle Harbor currently provide permanent moorage for approximately 367 vessels, of which a small number are occupied by liveaboards. Private docks provide moorage for additional 31 vessels.
There are no vessels permanently located in this area other than those located at the ferry maintenance yard. There are several private buoys north of the navigation channel near Wing Point, which are used periodically by small vessels. Safety is the prime consideration in this area, with recreational vessels operating in the navigation channel occasionally conflicting with ferry traffic. Vessels anchoring illegally on the "cap" of the Wyckoff Superfund Site are also a consideration.
Long-term moorage includes both anchored boats and boats tied to permanent mooring buoys. There currently are approximately 79 boats permanently moored in Eagle Harbor. The vast majority of these boats are in the main harbor area. Until recently, several large commercial barges were moored near the southwestern corner of the Wyckoff Superfund Site. No legal sanctioned location currently exists in the harbor for such vessels.
Short-term moorage (less than 60 days) is concentrated in the main harbor. Vessels occasionally are anchored so as to interfere with the ingress and egress of vessels from the ferry maintenance facility, from the commercial marinas, and from private docks. They also periodically interfere with the ability of larger vessels to turn around at the western end of main harbor.
Both small private vessels and larger commercial vessels visit Eagle Harbor solely to view the harbor and depart. Education programs on vessels such as ADVENTURESS and LADY WASHINGTON use the Main Harbor’s City Dock.
There is regular use of the eastern part of the main harbor for small boat sailing races and lessons. Small boats for sailing, rowing, kayaking and canoeing regularly use the entire main harbor. Anchored out boats use small powered and non-powered boats for access to the shore, primarily through the City Waterfront Park..
Recent commercial use is illustrated in the Eagle Harbor Inventory of the Harbor Management Plan. There has not been an appreciable change in commercial use in the past several years.
Occasional use is made of the harbor by seaplanes. Landing and takeoff are primarily made in the less crowded eastern part of this area. Seaplane operations have not historically posed a problem or conflict with other activities in the harbor.
Vessels operating at excessive speed in the frequently congested main harbor area are always a safety concern. Efforts are underway to improve signage in the areas experiencing frequent speed violations.
Navigating into and out of the main harbor area in the dark can be hazardous because of the many unlighted vessels in the harbor, and because of the lack of an established and marked navigation channel. An application has been submitted to the Joint Agencies to install four buoys to mark the north channel of Eagle Harbor.
Transient vessels seeking an anchorage rarely visit the inner harbor. It currently contains 12 private moorings, with approximately 3 vessels anchored or moored out long-term. There are 10 private docks, home to 8 vessels. The inner harbor has for many years been one of the several desirable water-ski areas, and more recently has a designated area for that purpose. An application for the installation of water-ski markers to be placed from May through September has been submitted to the Joint Agencies.
The main safety concern in this area is the potential conflict between water-skiers and other small vessel operators, and the potential danger of those high-speed operations in the close proximity to docks and permanent floats. Although not strictly a safety concern, some property owners in this area are also concerned with the noise and wake created by water-skiing activity. Despite these concerns, there is no documented history of injuries or property damage connected with water-ski activity in this area.
The Aquatic Conservancy is primarily used by small boats, and by waterfront property owners for access during appropriate tides.
The only safety consideration is enforcement of vessel speed ordinances. Residences have recommended that speed signs be clearly posted in this area. An application has been submitted to place a permanent buoy at the entrance to the Aquatic Conservancy to prohibit speeding.
Currently there are USCG public aids to navigation establish the navigation channel at the entrance to Eagle Harbor.
A navigation channel marked by private aids to navigation provides approximately 200 feet of navigable water on the north side of the main harbor (permits pending.)
The use of the south side of the main harbor remains under study to determine whether a navigation channel is required.
The water-ski area is marked with buoys during that portion of the year that water-skiing is permitted in the inner harbor.
Anchoring and mooring in Eagle Harbor will only be allowed in designated areas.
Anchoring and mooring is permitted north of the navigation channel and east of the Ferry Terminal. A specifically designated anchoring and mooring area may be delineated for this area in the future.
No anchoring or mooring is permitted south of the navigation channel and Ferry Terminal over the Wyckoff EPA cap. Buoys mark this area. Planning and negotiation should begin for the establishment of additional mooring facilities over the EPA cap using techniques which do not disturb the integrity of the cap. This area would be particularly appropriate for mooring of barges and other commercial vessels. For instance, 4-5 buoys between Wyckoff and the existing marinas on the south side would provide moorage for larger vessels without resulting in the re-suspension of contaminated sediments or otherwise interfering with the cap.
All mooring buoys and associated ground tackle placed in Eagle Harbor subsequent to the adoption of this Plan will be conform to design and maintenance requirements established by the City. The approved design will minimize adverse environmental impacts such as scouring of the bottom.
It is recognized that the area available under this plan for anchoring and mooring in Eagle Harbor is limited:
It is also recognized that all citizens of Bainbridge Island, surrounding communities, and the State have legitimate claims to use of available resources. Finally, it is recognized that the City of Bainbridge Island has a special interest in how this limited resource is allocated to further its goals of diversity, economic development and recreational opportunity for its citizens:
Existing City Services:
Proposed City Services:
This plan will be administered by the Harbormaster, and enforced by the Harbormaster and such other authorities as have jurisdiction. The Harbormaster, in concert with other City authorities, will develop a Harbor Operations/Procedures Manual to describe such administration. Violation of any regulations adopted in furtherance of this plan will be strictly enforced.
Temporary anchoring is permitted in this area so long as it does not interfere with established mooring buoys or vessels attached to them, and does not interfere with the safe conduct of water-skiing during months the designated area is operative. No anchoring is permitted in the Aquatic Conservancy Area. Some anchoring occurs on privately owned tidelands.
Following is a summary of potential user fees, local revenue sources and grant funds that could be used to generate revenue for harbor-related work. The types of user fees listed below and our estimate of the associated revenue are, at this stage, merely ideas and wild guesses on how to fund much-needed work in Bainbridge Island harbors. Activities for which this revenue is needed include the purchase of navigation buoys to mark the channel in Eagle Harbor, the operation of portable pump-outs, and the regulation and collection of moorage fees.
Leaseholder Excise Tax $ 3,841
32% of the leaseholder tax paid to DNR (which is 12.84% of the total lease payment) is returned to local jurisdictions to cover the cost of services. In 1998, the City of Bainbridge Island received $3,841.
Mooring Buoy Leases $ 12,500
There are approximately 250 mooring buoys in Bainbridge Island waters. Only five are currently permitted. $50/year for each buoy would pay for one person working quarter time to register, monitor and enforce mooring buoy regulations. Actual fees charged would depend on a number of factors, including administrative expense and shoreside impact of moored boats.
Moorage fees $ 35,000
Fees collected from the City Dock, the linear moorage system and the four mooring balls attached to the linear moorage system in 1999 was $16,000. It is estimated that summer months generate approximately $2,000/mo. If it were legal to collect such fees under the terms of the City’s lease from DNR, the City could probably continue to collect annualized revenue of $16,000. Additional fees will be generated from long term, transient and commercial moorage in Eagle Harbor. A portion of this income would probably go to the State.
Lease Payments from Resident Anchored-out Liveaboards $ 18,750
If 25 Resident anchored out liveaboards were to pay an average of $125/mo. for moorage and City services, the revenue generated would be $3,150/mo. Assuming 50% occupancy, we could expect annual revenue of $22,500. A portion of this income might go to the DNR, which would reduce expected income.
TOTAL OF ESTIMATED USER FEES $70,091
Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission
Contact: Dona Wolfe, (360) 902-8511
Public funding for pump-outs, new or replacement, stationary or portable, mobile skiffs with pump-outs, dump stations, etc. Funds can pay for up to 75% of facility construction and installation costs.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "Small Navigation Projects"
Contact: Lester Soule, (206) 764-3699
Cost sharing available for recreational navigation, mooring buoys, aids to navigation. Cost share is usually 50%. Cities are eligible.
Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation, "Boating Facilities"
Contact: Eric Johnson, (360) 902-3015
Funds available for shoreline and upland acquisition, including transient vessel moorage. $8 million available for the 1999-2001 biennium.
Department of Natural Resources, Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA)
These funds are largely used for acquisition and public access though funds can also be directed toward restoration. Bainbridge Island just got a big chunk for acquisition of the Blakely Harbor property.
Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team
There may be funds available for establishing "No Discharge Zones." This idea is currently being explored.
Department of Ecology, State Revolving Fund
Contact: Brian Howard (360) 407-6510
Cities can apply for low-interest loans. If the money is paid back within five years, no interest is charged. Cities are being encouraged to apply because so few jurisdictions are applying for low interest loans through the State Revolving Fund that the State is having to forego access to millions of dollars from the Federal Government for this program.
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Projects to enhance Bainbridge Island harbors with a salmon protection spin might qualify for funds.
This document can be found at:
City Website: http://www.ci-bainbridge-isl.wa.us
City Hall Self-Help Library- City Hall, 280 Madison Ave. N, Bainbridge Island.
Contact: Tami Allen, 206.780-3733, or firstname.lastname@example.org