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Salmon Beach

Salmon Beach Slope is a steeply sloped, 3.77-acre passive open space near the west shore of Puget Sound in Tacoma.  Nearly the entire area is classified as a Critical Area under Tacoma’s Critical Areas Protection Ordinance (TMC 13.11) due to the presence of steep slopes and Washington State Department of Wildlife (WDFW) designated priority habitat for terrestrial animals. Salmon Beach Slope meets the City of Tacoma Land Use Regulatory Code for an “Erosion Hazard Area” and a “Landslide Hazard Area”. About 60% of the area has slopes in excess of 40%. Currently, there is little evidence of surficial erosion, and no evidence of recent deep-seated slope instability.


The dominant tree species in Salmon Beach are mainly native big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and madrone (Arbutus menziesii). The decades-long practice of tree topping on the upper slopes to preserve water views for houses on the top of the slope, has resulted in die-back and disease of trees and establishment of invasive shrub and groundcover species in open  areas.


Aerial Image of Salmon Beach Slope 

Image: Salmon Beach Slope nestled between the Parkside neighborhood

homes above and the Salmon Beach parking lot below.




This property was set aside as mitigation for the Parkside Development at the top of the slope and enrolled into the City's passive open space program.



The Parkside View Management Plan was implemented.  The City has identified the need to update the plan to make it compliant with the current regulations, codes, and industry standards.



The property management of Salmon Beach Slope changed within the City of Tacoma to the Environmental Services Department (ESD). This transfer was accompanied by a utility rate increase that funds the active management of the area as well as other passive open space properties. ESD manages open space properties for the public benefits received when healthy forested areas actively improve stormwater quality and reduce runoff quantity through ecosystem services.



A 20-year Landscape Management Plan (LMP) was permitted for Salmon Beach Slope restoration activities.  The goal of the LMP is to reestablish native vegetation communities whose composition over the long term is sustainable and maximizes ecosystem services.



Salmon Beach Restoration Area

Photo: Salmon Beach Slope Habitat Restoration Area 


The Environmental Services six specific landscape management goals for the area include the following:

  • Achieving a sustainable target ecosystem
  • Maintaining slope stability and decreasing erosion
  • Improving wildlife habitat
  • Maximizing stormwater benefits
  • Working to protect public infrastructure and public safety
  • Vegetation Modification Requests for Private View Management

These goals will be achieved by developing a forest composition that improves age diversity, species diversity, and overall forest health.



2020/2021 Landscape Management Report 

Parkside View Management Plan (WFCI, 1995) 

Tree Solutions Arborist Report (Tree Solutions, 2016)

Wetland Investigation Memo (Grette, 2016)



For more information on the Salmon Beach landscape management plan, contact the Project Manager.


Desiree Radice

Senior Environmental Specialist

Environmental Services Department

(253) 502-2126