Puget Sound Innovation Stories

Milwaukee Dock Eelgrass Restoration



WRIA: 15

CITY, COUNTY: Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County


Project Summary

Long on the decline in Puget Sound, eelgrass is recognized by the Puget Sound Partnership and the Governor’s Results Washington program as critical habitat and a significant indicator of Puget Sound health. Milwaukee Dock, on the south side of Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor, once served the town of Creosote, home to a wood-treatment plant that operated from the early 1900s to 1988. Two channels dredged through the middle of a prime 4-acre eelgrass bed enabled vessels with deeper keels to access the dock. Although the dock was removed in the 1980s, the channels remained and were so deep that eelgrass could not get enough light to grow. The Milwaukee Dock eelgrass restoration project completes the conversion of about 3 acres of unvegetated, deep subtidal habitat to a shallower eelgrass meadow.

Key Actions

  • Filling a subtidal depression with 21,000 cubic yards of clean sediment of a similar grain size as exists in the surrounding eelgrass meadow.
  • Harvesting donor plants from nearby and propagating them at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Marine Science Lab.
  • Planting the filled area with the propagated eelgrass.


  • Restored the connectivity of a shallow, nearshore habitat, which enabled continued eelgrass growth and future restoration of the entire eelgrass meadow.
  • Provides refuge, food, and rearing areas—as well as migration corridors—for many species, including coho, steelhead, bull trout, threatened Chinook salmon, forage fish, crabs, bivalves, and invertebrates.
  • Offers valuable research opportunities to improve future efforts to restore eelgrass beds.



  • Suquamish Tribe
  • City of Bainbridge Island
  • Elliott Bay Trustee Council
  • West Sound Watershed Council
  • Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration (PSAR) Fund
  • Washington Department of Natural Resources
  • Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Project Cost: $1.8M total, including $1.76M (94%) PSAR funding contribution

More Info

Publish Date: August 21, 2017
Category: Nearshore
Congressional Districts: Congressional Dist. 6
Legislative Districts: Legislative Dist. 23
Counties: Kitsap