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Schuster Slope Landscape Management

Schuster Slope

Schuster 1893

One of the defining characteristics of the Puget Sound region is the dynamic coastline, which includes more than 1,400 miles of beaches built out of sand and gravel from nearby bluffs.  These actively eroding bluffs, including Schuster Slope, are an essential part of our coastal ecosystems.  They provide a significant amount of coastal forest, support nesting birds and raptors, serve as refuge for native wildlife, and provide sediment and nourishment to our beaches as they erode along the shoreline.

 

 Site Conditions

Schuster 2015Schuster Slope is located along the west shore of Commencement Bay in Tacoma. The lack of healthy vegetation on the steep slopes, along with frequent rainfall, causes Schuster Slope to experience skin slides, debris flows and sloughing as it tries to revert to its pre-development, natural feeder bluff state.

Slope stability has been the focus of two previous City-led studies conducted by GeoEngineers, the first in 2000 and the second in 2014 (see reports under Additional Resources near the end of the page).

 

The entire Schuster Slope area is classified as a Critical Area under Tacoma Municipal Code (TMC) 13.11 due to the steep slopes, wetlands, streams, and priority habitat (as defined by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife). For long-term management activities to occur, a 20-year permit under TMC 13.11 Critical Areas Preservation Code will allow Environmental Services to efficiently move forward with restoration actions and improve the slope stability. 

 

Highlights of the Schuster Slope Landscape Management Project

In a hurry? See the highlights on this project by viewing the Schuster Slope Stabilization and Restoration one-page handout.

 

  

Schedule

Task  Start Date End Date
City Restoration Work  Management Unit 1 December 2015 March 2017

Monitoring and Adaptive Management - 

Management Unit 1

September 2017 Estimated August 2022
City Restoration Work Management Unit 2 December  2016 January 2018

Monitoring and Adaptive Management - 

Management Unit 2

August 2019 Estimated August 2024
 City Restoration Work Management Units 8 & 9 December 2020  January 2021

Monitoring and Adaptive Management - 

Management Units 8 & 9

 August 2021  Estimated August 2025
 City Restoration Work Management Unit 10  December 2021  Estimated August 2026
 City Restoration Work  Management Unit 3 Estimated  December 2022  Estimated January 2023

 

 Schuster Slope Management Unit Map - All Units

 

Contact

For more information regarding the progress of the Schuster Slope Landscape Management Plan, please contact the City of Tacoma Schuster Slope Project Manager:

 

                      Brandon Drucker

                      Environmental Services Department

                   (253) 591-5780

                      bdrucker@cityoftacoma.org

 

 Landscape Management Plan

In 2014, the City began a public process to create a landscape management plan for the Schuster Slope. The goal was to ensure the new plan was reflective of the current conditions, best available science, and regulation compliance.  Metro Parks Tacoma provided assistance with outreach while GeoEngineers and Landau Associates provided scientific analysis.


The result of the City's efforts is a 20-year landscape management plan built on the concept of achieving a target ecosystem composition to maximize the ecosystem services that Schuster Slope can provide. The vegetative management goals for the project area include:

  • Achieving a sustainable target ecosystem
  • Improving slope stability
  • Maximizing stormwater benefit
  • Increasing public safety and infrastructure protection

The management plan’s success depends on effective implementation and regular updates to incorporate the best available science and management techniques.

View the entire Schuster Slope Landscape Management Plan

Schuster Slope Landscape Management Plan (LMP) Annual Reports

 

2019/2020 LMP Annual Report 

 

2018/2019 LMP Annual Report  


2017/2018 LMP Annual Report

  

2016/2017 LMP Annual Report 

 

Additional Resources

 

Tree Pruning

A long 3-acre band along the top of slope from South 4th Street to Division Way was worked over by City staff, pruning unhealthy limbs on many damaged and coppiced trees. A total of 179 individual trees were pruned, surveyed with handheld GPS units, and physically tagged. Click on the link below to view the new 2.8 acre work unit and the location of pruned trees.

 

Pruned Trees Map 

 

GeoEngineers Reports

 

2000 GeoEngineers Hillslope Area Study  between Schuster and Stadium Way

 

2014 GeoEngineers Baseline Condition Assessment Study