Title: Improve efforts to reduce shoreline armor by advancing our understanding of key influencers motivations and training needs


Capstone Client: Habitat Strategic Initiative, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 1111 Washington Street, Olympia, WA 98501

Contacts: Jennifer Griffiths, Technical Lead jennifer.griffiths@dfw.wa.gov, 360-902-2212


The Puget Sound shoreline has been highly modified by people which has impeded the physical processes that sustain ecosystem structure and function. One type of modification, shoreline armor, is the focus of the Puget Sound Vital Sign “Shoreline Armoring” and its Implementation Strategy (Habitat Strategic Initiative 2017). The Vital Sign indicator target is to have more armor removed than new armor installed from 2011-2020. The Implementation Strategy focuses on ways to increase armor removal and reduce new armor in order to restore physical processes that sustain the beach habitats that support nearshore species.

The Implementation Strategy draws upon previous research to prioritize efforts to prevent and remove armor on residential shoreline properties, which cover 57% of the Puget Sound shoreline. Key influencers such as real estate agents, contractors, and consultants are trusted messengers that affect the shoreline management decisions made by property owners. A number of programs throughout the Puget Sound hold trainings for key influencers to increase their knowledge about the impacts of shoreline armor and provide them with resources on alternative management options. These programs have also engaged key influencers through interviews and surveys.


Project Description and Proposed Methods:

The Habitat Strategic Initiative (Habitat SI) staff and partners will work with the capstone team to design

approaches to address the following questions:

  1. What are the values of key influencers in relation to Puget Sound shorelines? What information do they provide to their clients about Puget Sound shorelines and armor and why? How do these differ by influencer type (realtor, contractor, consultant), geography (north versus south Sound), etc.? What are the specific areas of training required by different influencer groups in order to inform their clients about current best practices for shoreline management?
    • Proposed method (above two questions): Review and synthesize existing materials on the values, motivators, and needs of key influencers according to programs throughout Puget Sound. One incentive program has transcribed interviews with key influencers while approximately four incentive programs have survey data collected pre- or post- key influencer


  1. What is the experience of Puget Sound incentive programs working with key influencers?
    • Proposed method: Interview incentive program staff (~ five programs) and synthesize outcomes and lessons learned from key influencer workshops and engagement activities


  1. What are the gaps in our understanding of key influencer’s values, motivations, and training needs?
    • Proposed method: Survey or interview selected key influencer groups to fill gaps in our understanding of values, motivations, and training needs.


  1. Will a social marketing strategy focused on key influencers improve the regional efforts to reduce armor impacts on private property? If so, what are the elements of such strategy?
    • Proposed method: If appropriate, develop a social marketing strategy to change the behavior of key influencers using Colehour + Cohen et al. (2014) as a model.


The Habitat SI staff would provide existing surveys and interviews conducted by programs throughout the Sound and connect the capstone team to these programs. The Habitat SI staff would also provide needed background and supporting materials. Habitat SI staff would provide feedback on the methods and approaches chosen but the capstone team should have or be willing to develop the following skills during the project: literature review skills; qualitative and quantitative survey and interview design, analysis, and synthesis; and an understanding of social marketing principles.



  • Present final findings in an informal meeting with Habitat Strategic Initiative staff and partners.
  • Write a short communication piece on the final results for posting on our blog (www.pugetsoundestuary.wa.gov) and other relevant online outlets.
  • Prepare a draft and final report of the findings describing the methods and results for each task identified in the project planning stage.