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Shoreline Master Program Update

Status of Shoreline Master Program Update

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Shoreline Management Background

Under Washington State's 1972 "Shoreline Management Act," local governments that plan under the Growth Management Act must develop a "Shoreline Master Program."

In 2003 the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted new Shoreline Guidelines (WAC 173-26) requiring local governments to update their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs) to include policies and regulations that will ensure no net loss of shoreline ecological functions. To demonstrate that the SMP meets this performance standard, the local government is required to characterize their shoreline through a detailed inventory and analysis of shoreline functions and adjacent land use conditions. The analysis steps must be documented and submitted to Ecology with the updated SMP for final review. The findings from this analysis are used to create an informed shoreline zoning overlay, and to determine allowable uses and development regulations within shoreline jurisdiction.

Thurston County applied for grant funding to undertake the SMP work and was awarded the full amount requested ($629,508) for a three year project (July 2007-July 2010), which was extended until September 2010. Thurston County's grant funding has now been expended, and the county is continuing to work on the Shoreline Master Program update using its own funds. The cities of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey also applied for and received funding to update their individual city SMPs. The county and cities are exchanging information throughout the development process. The effort will produce individual Shoreline Master Programs, tailored to the needs of each jurisdiction.

Thurston County contracted with two independent consultants:

  • Grette Associates assisted with the inventory and analysis.
  • Creative Community Solutions assisted with the public outreach and participation plan.

For more information on shoreline management under the Shoreline Management Act (1972) and the updated Ecology Shoreline Master Program Guidelines (2003) please click here.

Status Update Presentations

Scientific/Technical Advisory Group

Thurston County has established a Scientific-Technical Advisory Group (STAG). This group provides guidance on:

  • developing the shoreline inventory
  • characterizing ecosystem-wide processes and shoreline functions
  • establishing the scientific information record
  • developing a restoration plan
  • determining shoreline environment designations.

This group reviews and comments on drafts of technical chapters and data deliverables.

Public Involvement / Meeting Notes

Thurston County has been reaching out to residents to gather information and hear opinions about the Shoreline Master Program. Thurston County hosted five public workshops in April and May of 2008. Four more workshops were held in March 2009.

  • Click here to learn about the Spring 2009 meetings and read the meeting notes (minutes)
  • Click here to learn about the Spring 2008 meetings and read the meeting notes (minutes)

Documents

Contact Us

Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here.
Staff contact: Christy Osborn, Senior Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355, x4465 E-mail: osbornc@co.thurston.wa.us

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