Department of Ecology News Release - August 26, 2016

The Snake River along the Walla Walla County shoreline.
The Walla Walla County shoreline program helps guide development and preservation along shores like the Snake River.

Updated programs protect shoreline in Walla Walla County

WALLA WALLA – In an effort to preserve and protect more than 225 miles of shoreline along rivers in Walla Walla County, several cities joined the county to update their shoreline programs.

Prescott, Waitsburg, Walla Walla and Walla Walla County participated in a regional planning process to update their shoreline programs. They individually submitted their updated programs to the Washington Department of Ecology, which is making them available for public review and comment Aug. 29 through Sept. 27.

Each of the cities shared environmental studies and an inventory of current shoreline conditions with the county, during development. The communities then tailored portions of their individual shoreline programs to meet local needs.

Mill Creek in Walla Walla’s downtown core is an essential migration and rearing area for spring chinook salmon and summer steelhead. The Touchet River and its shoreline provide important habitat for these fish as well as threatened bull trout.

These shoreline programs will guide construction and development along shorelines, including the Columbia, Snake, Touchet and Walla Walla rivers. The programs also provide guidance for floodplain management.

Once approved by Ecology, the shoreline programs will become part of the overall state shoreline master program.

Each shoreline program is designed to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect people’s access to public land and waters.

Review documents

Comments and questions should be addressed to Jeremy Sikes, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, 4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA 99205, or by email to jeremy.sikes@ecy.wa.gov.

Documents are available for review online, at Ecology’s Eastern Regional Office, , and at each jurisdiction’s planning office.

After taking public comments into consideration, Ecology may approve the proposed shoreline programs as written, reject them, or identify specific modifications to meet the Shoreline Management Act and applicable state regulations.

Contact:

Brook Beeler, communications, 509-328-3478; @ecyspokane