Washington State Department of Ecology - June 19, 2013

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Burlington shoreline master program approved

BELLINGHAM - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved the city of Burlington’s updated shoreline master program.

The city’s shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the protection, use, development and restoration of roughly three miles of shoreline and the water quality of the Skagit River and Gages Slough.

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

"Burlington has developed a shoreline master program that will help the statewide effort to protect the economic and environmental health of our waterways. We appreciate the city’s work to involve many interested parties in this update. Together, we are protecting our treasured shoreline resources now and for future generations," said Erik Stockdale, Ecology’s acting regional shorelines program supervisor.

Cities and counties statewide are in the process of, or soon will be, updating or developing 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.

The city brought diverse local interests to the table to work collaboratively. Burlington collaborated over three years with waterfront property owners, environmental interests, local governments, tribes and state agencies. The shoreline master program process began with a thorough inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions and was completed by city staff.

Burlington’s shoreline master program:

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 Contacts:

Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009, larry.altose@ecy.wa.gov

Bob Fritzen, Ecology shoreline planner, 360-715-5207, bob.fritzen@ecy.wa.gov

Margaret Fleek, Planning Director, City of Burlington, 360-755-9717, margaretf@cy.burnlington.wa.us

For more information:

Burlington's master program:

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)