Puget Sound Innovation Stories

Seattle Elliott Bay Seawall

The Elliott Bay Seawall Project involves replacing the old seawall on Seattle’s waterfront to protect buildings, roads and utilities while providing shelter for marine life. The project will construct approximately 7,112 lineal feet of seawall along the Puget Sound shoreline. Fish habitat enhancement features greatly in the design, and the project will relocate the seawall ten to fifteen feet landward of the existing structure, restoring approximately 1.8 acres of seabed. It will include intertidal benches to provide shallow water for juvenile salmonids where shallows don’t currently exist. The new seawall face is constructed with texture, patterns and shelves formed in concrete to encourage aquatic vegetation to attach and small organisms to establish, which provide forage for juvenile salmonids and other marine fish. The new cantilevered sidewalk also includes a light-penetrating surface to allow more sunshine to reach the water, aquatic vegetation, and organisms below that juvenile salmon depend on during their outmigration. The overall project provides a significant ecological lift in the nearshore.

The new seawall meets current seismic standards and will last more than 75 years. While the primary concern of the seawall project is public safety and habitat improvements, we anticipate that it will contribute to future economic benefits as part of the overall effort to redevelop Seattle’s downtown waterfront.

Funding Sources:

The Elliott Bay Seawall Project is funded primarily through a voter-approved bond measure and other local (City of Seattle) funds, with a $32 million contribution from the King County Flood Control District. While there is no federal funding supporting the project, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) partnered very closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service through the environmental review and permitting process for the project. This partnership has continued over the past several years during construction.

Congressional district: 7


  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Federal Highways Administration
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Port of Seattle
  • King County Flood Control District
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources
  • Tribes (Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, Snoqualmie)
  • Private and non-profit businesses, organizations, and stakeholders
EB Seawall 1.jpg

Seawall Project during construction – Photo by Elliott Bay Seawall Project

Project rendering top of page: James Corner Field Operations

More Info

Publish Date: May 17, 2017
Category: Nearshore
Congressional Districts: Congressional Dist. 7
Counties: King
Habitat Types: Marine
Restoration Focuses: Flood Control | Salmon
Activities: Restore Habitat
Key Benefits: Food For Salmon
Funding Sources: