Waterfront property owners could receive up to $5,000 in grants

The new grants are part of Island County’s efforts to guard against erosion.

Waterfront property owners are now eligible for up to $5,000 in grant funding from a new Island County program if they make certain changes to their yards to protect the shoreline, such as relocating septic systems or adding native plants.

Property owners with access to marine shoreline can apply for Shore Friendly Program Mini-Grants for amounts of $500-$5,000 for a list of projects meant to improve the environment. It is the first time Island County has offered the grants. It is funded through the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program.

The grants are not based on a landowner’s financial need, but rather on the project’s impact on the environment.

“We’re really hoping to incentivize homeowners toward making that next step to protect shoreline properties and protect Puget Sound,” said Anna Toledo, Island County Marine Resources Committee coordinator.

Island County government has a list of projects that would be eligible for the grants, including how much money each type of project could receive in reimbursement.

Consultations about native plant management or stormwater drainage are eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement. Designs for replacing invasive species with native plants in the yard or coastal bluff are eligible for up to $1,000. Big ticket items such as relocating a house or septic system, or removing creosote pilings on the shoreline, are eligible for up to $5,000 in funding.

There is $50,000 total available in grant funding for the program, Toledo said. She said no one had submitted an application yet, but she had received some interest in the program.

Applications will be reviewed first-come, first-served; if there are more applications than the county has funds to support, projects will be ranked by how much benefit they may provide.

The grants are part of the county’s larger efforts to remove shoreline armor, or structures like bulkheads and seawalls, in order to slow erosion on the island and protect fish habitats.

Other cities in the region have similar programs.

Applicants will be required to submit their receipts or other proof of payment to be reimbursed for up to the maximum amount available for the project.

Projects must be completed by April 30, 2021.

Find more information on the county’s website or contact Anna Toledo at a.toledo@islandcountywa.gov