Thurston County is blessed with hundreds of miles of beautiful, ecologically rich shorelines. Our shorelines support marine life, plants and animals, and they grant us breathtaking views and recreational and economic opportunities. The very beauty and accessibility of our shorelines lures us to the water: We want to walk along the shores, build docks and launch boats, harvest shellfish and build homes with views. At the same time, these activities may threaten the very shores that make Thurston County such a special place to live.
So how do we strike a balance between development and economic growth while preserving our unique and environmentally sensitive shorelines? That's an important question, and the focus of Thurston County's Shoreline Master Program -- a combined planning and regulatory document that contains policies, goals, and specific land-use regulations for shorelines. The program includes marine shorelines, rivers with a flow greater than 20 cubic feet per second, lakes larger than 20 acres, upland areas within 200 feet of these water bodies and the floodplains and wetlands associated with these shorelines.
Thurston County's Shoreline Master Program was last updated in 1990, before new state guidelines were approved in 2003. Thurston County must update its plan by 2011 in order to be consistent with the latest state requirements.
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