Washington State Department of Ecology - May 16, 2013

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La Center's shoreline master program gains final approval

OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved La Center’s updated shoreline master program.

La Center’s shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the protection, use, development and restoration of approximately 1 mile of shoreline and the water quality of the East Fork Lewis River in the city and its urban growth areas.

La Center is one of nearly 75 local governments that have completed their updates. The updated master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Ecology Regional Shorelands Program Manager Paula Ehlers said: “La Center’s shoreline master program helps protect the economic and environmental health of our waters. I especially commend La Center for working with Clark County and six other cities to develop its program. This is a great example of working collaboratively to protect the treasured shoreline resources that make Washington a great place to live.”

The city’s process brought diverse local interests to the table to work collaboratively.  Interested groups included waterfront property owners, city residents, scientists, non-profit organizations, tribal government representatives, and state and local resource agency staff.

About 190 cities and counties statewide are in the process of, 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.

La Center’s shoreline master program:

Under state law, the local shoreline plan must be approved by Ecology before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program.  The department will help defend La Center’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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Media contact:

Linda Kent, Ecology media relations, (360) 407-6239, (360) 791-9830 (cell); linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

Dale Miller, La Center City Planner, 360-263-2484, dmiller@ci.lacenter.wa.us

For more information:

Ecology’s website for La Center’s shoreline master program (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/mycomments/lacenter.html)

More about shoreline master programs (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/index.html)

Our Living Shorelines web portal (www.ecy.wa.gov/livingshorelines/index.html)

Ecology's social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)