Department of Ecology News Release - October 27, 2016

The Snake River in Asotin County provides abundant recreation opportunities.
The Snake River in Asotin County provides abundant recreation opportunities.

Updated program protects shorelines in Southeast Washington
State seeking comments on regional shoreline program

DAYTON – In an effort to preserve and protect more than 300 miles of shoreline along rivers in Southeast Washington, three counties worked with the city of Clarkston and the town of Starbuck to update their shoreline program.

Asotin, Columbia and Garfield counties, along with Clarkston and Starbuck, participated in a regional planning process to update their shoreline program. The group developed one program that applies throughout Southeast Washington with specific detail to address individual needs of Clarkston and Starbuck. They then submitted their program to the Washington Department of Ecology for review and approval.

As part of the review process, Ecology is making the program available for public review and comment Oct. 27 through Nov. 30.

This program will guide construction and development along shorelines, including the Snake, Grand Ronde, Tucannon, Touchet and Wenaha rivers. The program will help protect miles of undeveloped shoreline while carefully managing high-intensity, water-dependent uses like the Snake River dams, port facilities and other commercial uses.

As part of the update, the local governments developed a public access plan because the shorelines draw more than one million visits each year to public recreation sites for activities like boating, cycling, hiking and fishing.

Shoreline programs are 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 David Pater, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, 3190 160th Ave. SE St., Bellevue, WA 98007, or by email to

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

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


Brook Beeler, communications, 509-329-3478; @ecyspokane