Department of Ecology News Release - February 12, 2013


Ecology approves Bothell's shoreline master program update

BELLEVUE – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved the city of Bothell's shoreline master program.

Bothell's shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the protection, use, development and restoration of more than 13 miles of shorelines and the water quality of the Sammamish River and North Creek in Bothell, and Swamp Creek, if annexed into the city.

The updated master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb said, “Our citizens, waterfront property owners, business owners, and shorelines advisory board collaborated to create a Shorelines Master Program that reflects Bothell's existing conditions, recognizes future opportunities, achieves no net loss of ecological conditions, incentivizes private development to restore and enhance shoreline areas and ensures that future generations will continue to enjoy Bothell's shorelines.”

About 200 cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs, under the state's 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act.

Shoreline master programs are the cornerstone of the act. The law requires cities and counties with regulated shorelines to develop and periodically update their locally tailored programs to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public's right to public lands and waters.

“Bothell's updated shoreline program helps protect the economic and environmental health of our waters in King and Snohomish counties, including Puget Sound. By working together, we're keeping local beaches and stream banks from further erosion, increasing flood protection and protecting critical habitat and fish and wildlife,” said Geoff Tallent, regional supervisor for Ecology's shorelines and environmental assessment program.

Bothell's process brought diverse local interests to the table to work collaboratively.  The shoreline master program process began with a thorough inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions and completed with consultant support. These groups included waterfront property owners, scientists, non-profit organizations, tribal government representatives, agricultural interests, and state and local resource agency staff.

Key features of Bothell's updated program include:

Under state law, the local shoreline program must receive approval from Ecology before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program. The department will help defend the city's shoreline program against legal challenges.

All of Washington's cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003.  The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.


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