Friday, February 10, 2012


Boat ramps are nice meters of changing beach profiles.  Presumably, this ramp was originally built at beach grade - or at least at something close to typical summertime grade.  But the beach has continued to accrete and now the ramp is a foot or more below grade.  Which means that left alone, there would be a foot of gravelly sand on top of the ramp.  Which sort of negates the purpose of the ramp.  To keep the ramp clear probably requires near constant excavation and re-excavation with a loader.  Here, and at other ramps in similar predicaments, the result is often growing piles of gravel on both sides of the ramp, portions of which gradually erode back onto the beach, sometimes to simply rebury the ramp.

This morning there were two large piles of gravel down the beach - downdrift that is.  This boat ramp maintenance project has become a bypass operation, much like dredging sediment from a shoaling inlet and placing it on the downdrift beach. The concept is good but the level of disturbance (and effort) it creates for a small boat ramp seems awfully high.

There are probably dozens of these high maintenance ramps on the Sound, but a few that come to mind are Lighthouse Park on Point Roberts, Camano Island State Park, Port Hadlock, Kayak Point, and Phil Simon Park in Langley.

The best solution might be to raise the ramp to match the new beach grade, but that would be expensive.  And of course, the flip side of this problem is that when groins are built too high, or when they are built on eroding beaches, they increasingly begin to act like small groins.


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