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Gopher Review Process for Permits


2016 Gopher Review Process

The Mazama pocket gopher is protected by the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance, state and federal law, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That’s why the County conducts site reviews of properties on or near gopher soils before issuing permits. Soils are an indicator of possible gopher presence.

Site review season is now closed. Reviews begin again June 1, 2017.

This only affects permit applicants with projects on or near gopher habitat. County staff can check an address or parcel number and let you know - email permit@co.thurston.wa.us or come into the Permit Assistance Center.

You may submit a permit application anytime. Applications are prescreened to see if projects can be excluded from gopher review.  County Exclusions (PDF)  Federal Exclusions (PDF)

The basic process

  • Submit a permit application.

  • Properties on or near gopher soils get up to three site visits, at least 30 days apart.
    Some exclusions apply, see lists below.

  • Site reviews conducted between June and October only.

  • Review schedules fill up and close.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review sites with the County because they oversee the ESA and the gopher listing.

  • If gophers are found, applications will be processed in accordance with the County’s Critical Areas Ordinance. (PDF)

Prepare for a site visit

  • Mow tall Scotch broom.

  • Remove piles of debris and dangerous materials.

  • Reviewers call applicants before visits. Visits still occur if staff don’t reach anyone.

What happens during a site visit

  • Staff do not enter homes or buildings.

  • They may walk entire property observing soils, vegetation, and other land features.

  • They may dig small holes to evaluate soils.  Soil will be put back into the hole.

How to get information after a site visit

Additional reading and information


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