Washington State Department of Ecology - June 10, 2013

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Ecology approves update of Steilacoom shoreline program

OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved the town of Steilacoom’s comprehensively updated shoreline master program.

Steilacoom’s shoreline program will govern the protection, use and development of 2.6 miles of marine shoreline and 1.1 miles of stream shores in the town.

Steilacoom is one of nearly 80 local governments that have completed their updates. The new master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

Ecology Southwest Region Shorelands Program Manager Paula Ehlers said: " Steilacoom’s shoreline master program helps protect the economic and environmental health of our waters, including Chambers Creek and Puget Sound. Our shorelines make Washington a great place to live. Working together to protect our treasured shoreline resources for ourselves as well as our children and future generations is important."

About 150 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.

Steilacoom’s process brought various local interests to the table to work collaboratively. The shoreline master program process began with an inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions that was completed with consultant support.

Steilacoom’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. If needed, the department will help defend the town’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; 306-791-9830 (cell); linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

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