Environmental Checklist Guidance

Table of Contents

Introduction 8. Land and Shoreline Use
Use of Checklist for Non-Project Proposals 9. Housing
Section A: Background 10. Aesthetics
Section B: Environmental Elements 11. Light and Glare
1. Earth 12. Recreation
2. Air 13. Historic and Cultural Preservation
3. Water 14. Transportation
4. Plants 15. Public Services
5. Animals 16. Utilities
6. Energy and Natural Resources Section C: Signature
7. Environmental Health Section D: Supplemental Sheet for Non-Project Actions


A. Background

The background section of the checklist is very important for applicants, lead agencies and reviewers to understand the total proposal and all activities involved. Please ensure that each question is answered completely in order to process your application and facilitate timely review.

Please note that the list of questions in this section "A" can be modified by different lead agencies but the questions must be "substantially in the form listed as WAC 197-11-960.

1. Name of the proposed project, if applicable

This is the first place to identify the proposal and should include some identifying information. Many projects or proposals have names or titles but not all. Residential developments, commercial, and industrial ventures are often named. If the project does not have an official name, please use a general reference such as "Smith Commercial Construction Project" or "Statewide Toxic Clean-up Rule Amendment."


2. Name of applicant

More than one person, company, or agency may be listed here. The project's sponsor(s) or the landowner(s) are more appropriate responses than the name of hired consultants, contractor's, architects, etc. who may be handling applications - although including all three is preferable.

Public projects and non-project proposals should include the agency and department title here.


3. Address and phone number of applicant and contact person

Include e-mail, phone numbers and addresses of everyone listed under question #2.


4. Date checklist prepared

This date is used as a reference to when the project was reviewed in this checklist. The stage of project design, status of the existing environment and knowledge of anticipated impacts are all relevant to the date of this stage in the SEPA review process. Lead agencies are responsible for the updated accuracy of the information used to make the threshold determination -including the answers in the checklist.


5. Agency requesting checklist

This is where the lead agency is listed pursuant to WAC 197-11-924. If this has not been determined, please list all of the agencies where permit applications will be submitted. Lead agency for public projects and non-project actions are automatically designated as the proponent agency unless otherwise agreed upon by all agencies with jurisdiction. Please consult the definition of agency  when considering if your project qualifies as a public project under SEPA.


6. Proposed timing or schedule (including phasing, if applicable)

For specific projects please include proposed dates of construction (beginning to end), period of operation, and the timing of closure, demolition or reclamation.

Proposals or parts of proposals that are related to each other closely enough to be, in effect, a single course of action shall be evaluated in the same environmental document. However, the level of detail and type of environmental review may vary with the nature and timing of proposals and their component parts. The total proposal must be clearly defined in question 10 of this section, but phased review under SEPA authorizes agencies to add detailed analysis prior to applicable future decisions (agency actions). See WAC 197-11-060(5).


7. Do you have any plans for future additions, expansion, or further activity related to or connected with this proposal? If yes, explain

This information is critical to properly define the total proposal for SEPA review. The answer here identifies known expansions, related proposals, and projects that with connected elements or objectives.

It may be required to incorporate the review of future or separate aspects of a proposal within the review of the current project, saving time and money later. The lead agency makes the determination of what aspects can or must be reviewed together in one document or threshold determination.


8. List any environmental information you know about that has been prepared, or will be prepared, directly related to this proposal

Include reports, studies, or other environmental documents that have been, are being, or will be prepared that provide relevant environmental information about your project, the site, or the area.

They may be created to support your proposal, for a similar or related project, or they may have been developed during planning by the city or county, etc. This could include relevant SEPA or NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) documents.

“Environmental information" could be in the form of maps, reports, studies, surveys, or evaluations that might help refine the proposal and avoid delays at the permitting stage. Identify the special reports, studies or plans required by development regulations or submitted with project applications. Examples include:

  • Wetland Report
  • Traffic Study
  • Geotechnical Study
  • Archeological Report
  • Stormwater Pollution and Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

After completing Part B of the checklist, you may identify additional environmental information to list here.

Note: Surface mining-  If you are revising a reclamation permit or reclamation plan, we need to know whether the original permit or plan was reviewed under SEPA. We also need to know what year the review took place.

Additional Resources:

  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources has maps of public and state lands, water body typing, geologic data, soil information, nearshore inventories and data, information on aquatic lands and associated resources such as eelgrass and shellfish, a list of completed watershed analyses, and previous SEPA reviews.
  • Washington Natural Heritage Program can provide information on wetlands, rare plants, and native ecosystems.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) formerly the Soil Conservation Service) also has soil information.
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has species and habitat information.
  • Cities, counties, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have floodplain maps.
  • Cities and counties have records of the previous SEPA reviews as well as information on the shoreline characterization of the area, if applicable, and other information falling under the GMA or SMA such as zoning of an area.
  • Federal permits or land-use approvals often contain relevant studies. Agencies can include EPA, US Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, BLM, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and others.


9. Do you know whether applications are pending for governmental approvals of other proposals directly affecting the property covered by your proposal? If yes, explain

SEPA requires agencies to consider the additional environmental impacts of this proposal together with the existing impacts plus reasonably foreseeable future impacts of other projects or proposals.

List here all permits, applications, funding decisions, or other pending decisions/approvals for separate proposals that could affect (exacerbate, mitigate, or otherwise contribute) to the adverse impacts of this proposal.

The applicable local government or nearby public landowner will likely have information about these types of projects or proposals.

Additional Resources:


10. List any government approvals or permits that will be needed for your proposal, if known

List all approvals (including funding, leases, permits etc.) from any governmental entity that you know will be needed for your proposal, whether from the agency requesting the checklist or from other governmental entities. Governmental entities include: cities, counties, state agencies, districts, ports, and federal agencies. Include any required certificates or letters of availability for public services or utilities. Please list the agency and type of permit or other action/decision.

Tip: If you do not know the permits that might be required, contact the agency requesting this checklist or the Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA) at 800-917-0043 or help@ora.wa.gov. ORA can provide applicants and agencies with personal assistance, or refer you to the Permit Handbook, and an online permit assistance system that helps you identify permits needed for your project.

Commonly required permits include, but are not limited to:

Local City or County Permits

  • Building
  • Preliminary/final plat
  • Grading
  • Water system
  • Shoreline
  • Right of Way
  • Utility
  • Site plan review
  • Septic system
  • Floodplain development
  • Variance (zoning, shoreline, etc.)
  • Outdoor burning

State Permits

  • Hydraulic Project Approval (Department of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Bald Eagle Management Plan (Department of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Grass Carp (Department of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Shooting Preserve (Department of Fish and Wildlife)
  • Forest Practices (Department of Natural Resources)
  • Aquatic Lease (Department of Natural Resources)
  • Burning - forest slash (Department of Natural Resources)
  • Surface Mine Reclamation (Department of Natural Resources)
  • Water rights (Department of Ecology)
  • Well drilling (Department of Ecology)
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - NPDES (Department of Ecology)
  • Water quality certification (Department of Ecology)
  • Stormwater (Department of Ecology)
  • Underground storage tank certification (Department of Ecology)
  • Dangerous Waste (Department of Ecology)
  • Air: New Source review, for a business or industry (Department of Ecology)
  • Air: Notice of intent, for demolition projects (Department of Ecology)

Federal Permits

  • Section 10 - navigable waters (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
  • Section 404 - fill in waters (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
  • Section 9 - bridge (U.S. Coast Guard)
  • Endangered Species Act consultation (National Marine Fisheries Service or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department)


11. Give a brief, complete description of your proposal, including the proposed uses and the size of the project and site.

Provide a complete description of the type of project (e.g. retail, land clearing, residential subdivision, warehouse), and the actions which would occur (e.g. grade, fill, clear, construct, operate, close, demolish, mine). Provide sizes and/or quantities, if known (e.g. building square footage, site or lot acreage, cubic yards of excavation, grading or fill, number of parking spaces, length of roads or utility lines).

Example: Clear-cut timber harvest on 3 acres of a 10-acre parcel, estimated 3,000 cubic yards of site grading with import of additional 1,200 cubic yards of fill material, construct and operate a 30,500 sq. ft. commercial multi-tenant facility with a 900 sq. ft. paved outdoor garden center, lighted and paved parking for 1,500 vehicles, utility installation including 950-ft extension of both sewer and water lines, onsite stormwater retention/detention facility, and landscaping.


12. Location of the proposal. Give sufficient information for a person to understand the precise location of your proposed project, including a street address, if any, and section, township, range, if known

Please list as much information as you can about where the proposal is located including one or more of the following identifiers:

  • Street address
  • Parcel number
  • Cross streets
  • Highway mile
  • Section, Township, and Range
  • Latitude & longitude coordinates

Please also reference an attached map or additional written description if applicable. If a proposal would affect a range of area, provide the range or boundaries of the site(s). Provide a legal description, site plan, vicinity map, and topographical map, if reasonably available.

Additional Resources:


Table of Contents


B: Environmental Elements

1. Earth

a. General description of the site (circle one): Flat, rolling, hilly, steep slopes, mountainous, other...

Describe the general shape or contour of the land ignoring structures and vegetation. Include the project site and surrounding area. For a proposal that covers multiple areas describe the general predominate types of landforms. (Example: “predominately rolling, but also containing two steep ravines and a level meadow”)

Some important features to note:

  • Steep or hazardous slopes in the vicinity (within the range of a potential impact) of the site. Provide a description (% slope and vertical height) of the hazardous slope if present, and any large deep-seated slump, unstable areas known to the proponent, and any mass wasting features in the area.

  • Tidelands, bedlands, harbor areas, or freshwater shorelands.  Tidelands are the lands between ordinary high tide and the line of extreme low tide; bedlands are those lands lying waterward of and below the line of navigability on rivers and lakes not subject to tidal waters, or the outer harbor line where a harbor area has been created, and shorelands are submerged lands lying along the edge of lakes or rivers.

  • Other nearshore features such as feeder bluffs directly impact the nearshore ecosystem on aquatic lands. Please provide location information for feeder bluffs as well as drift cells. For more information consult the local jurisdiction and/or refer to GIS data:


b. What is the steepest slope on the site (approximate percent slope)?

Slope means the number of units the land falls (or rises) in 100 units of horizontal distance, the higher the percentage, the steeper the slope. This calculation is especially important for any proposals where vegetation will be removed or soil disturbed. Percent slope is typically measured by professionals with a clinometer but it may also be measured in the field. Field measurements or a topographic map must be used to determine the rise and run of the steepest slope on site. The rise and run are then used to calculate the percent slope with this formula.

Percent Slope = (Rise/Run) x 100

A 45 degree angle (where rise and run are equal) would result in a 100% slope. Resources: Topographical maps or site surveys. Bathymetric, nautical or navigation charts for underwater slopes.


c. What general types of soils are found on the site (for example, clay, sand, gravel, peat, muck)? If you know the classification of agricultural soils, specify them and note any agricultural land of long-term commercial significance and whether the proposal results in removing any of these soils.

There may be more than one type of soil on the site. For some permit applications you will need to list the average soil profile to a depth of 4 feet. Soil survey information is available at many city or county departments of community development or university or other libraries.


d.  Are there surface indications or history of unstable soils in the immediate vicinity? If so, describe

“Unstable soils” refers to areas subject to mass wasting or landslides. Landslides occur when a mass of soil or rock moves down the slope under the force of gravity. Where site information indicates a potential for soil instability problems, the proposal may require additional field evaluation.

This question also applies to land under water. DNR's Geology division can assist with recent studies locating fault lines and other seafloor geological information off the coast of Washington. USGS can provide limited seafloor mapping data for projects that extend seaward from beyond SOAL.

As well as steep slopes, signs of unstable soils include evidence of past landslides, mass wasting, erosion (including wind erosion), subsidence, tilting structures, uneven floor, cracked paving, etc. Areas of past fill (landfills, filled wetlands or tidal areas, reclaimed surface mines, etc), destabilization from vegetation removal, evidence or knowledge of high groundwater or concentrated stormwater infiltration, etc. are further indicators of potential soil non-stability.

  • Changes in the geometry of the slope (i.e., it becomes steeper)
  • Changes in the material characteristics of the slope or soil (including changes in the vegetation and roots such as “pistol-butted trees” or wetland plants present)
  • Increased water on the slope or in the soil
  • An increased load on the slope (e.g., placement of new structures)
  • A fault line near project site, whether for an upland or aquatic site.

Additional Resources:


e. Describe the purpose, type, total area, and approximate quantities and total affected area of any filling, excavation, and grading proposed. Indicate source of fill.

Purpose of fill and grade include examples such as "bring site level with street" "to level lot", "to fill low or wet area", "to create a pond", etc.  Include the specific location of the area to be filled on the project site.  Most proposals involving fill in aquatic lands will require additional permits and approvals.

Type of fill is a description of the materials to be imported to the site, such as large rocks, gravel, sand, clay, top soil, mixed soil and rock, etc. The Source of fill is the original location of imported material from offsite.

Tip: It is important to indicate if fill material has been checked for invasive species to minimize potential transport to new areas.

Quantities of grading, excavation, or fill should be given in cubic yards. Professionals may need to be consulted for this information (architect, contractor, etc.)


f. Could erosion occur as a result of clearing, construction, or use? If so, generally describe.

Erosion is the wearing away of soil or rock by mass movement or by the flow of water, wind or ice. The answer is likely "yes" if any of the following activities will occur during construction, operations or demolition: filling, excavation, grading, or removal of vegetation or other stabilizing ground cover. Water traveling over or below ground or deflected   off smooth or hard surfaces can cause erosion, as well as unprotected soils exposed to wind.

Describe the total area of exposed soil and duration of the activity at any given time during the life of the proposal. The following circumstances could lead to changes in erosion:

  • Changes in the geometry of the slope (i.e., it becomes steeper).
  • Changes in the material characteristics of the slope or soil (especially removal of the vegetation and roots).
  • Increased water on the slope or in the soil.
  • Increased or re-directed energy in a waterbody.


g. About what percent of the site will be covered with impervious surfaces after project construction (for example, asphalt or buildings)?

Include any square foot where rain cannot percolate into the ground such as building footprints, asphalt and concrete areas, covered or capped ground, and lined ditches or ponds.

Include areas of impervious soil cover during and/or after project construction. Stockpile areas and pit floors often become impervious surface. Other examples of impervious or nearly impervious surfaces include paved roads, piling supported structures, bridges and pier, and hard packed grass, roads and parking lots.


h. Proposed measures to reduce or control erosion, or other impacts to the earth, if any

General mitigation possibilities include:

  • Avoidance (stay away from the area).
  • Alternative on the ground operational systems.
  • Removal of the unstable material.
  • Engineering to reinforce the slope, drain water, etc.
  • Vegetation management (mulching, grass seeding, slash placement).
  • Reducing slopes.
  • Ripping or tilling compacted area.
  • Road design, drainage structures, and water dispersion or fill armoring techniques.
  • Silt curtains for in-water work.

Erosion control methods to defray the potential effects of wind, water, and ice on disturbed soils can include:

  • Minimizing removal of vegetation or area of disturbance, especially in areas of vulnerability such as steep slopes or where there is already evidence of destabilization, both during construction and operation/use.
  • Planting or maintaining vegetative cover (consider also how the type of vegetation can affect soil stability - considering root structure, evapotransipiration, and diffusion of wind and water energy).
  • Moistening exposed soils or application of stabilizing compounds to reduce wind erosion.
  • Placement of straw, rip rap, or other materials to reduce exposure of disturbed soils to the elements. Consider how hard armoring (e.g. bulkheads, rip rap) versus soft armoring (vegetation) will affect wind and water energy.
  • Placement of roads and structures away from areas of unstable soils or geological hazards.
  • Managing stormwater after construction is completed. (Will stormwater collected from large areas of impervious surfaces be discharged directly to the ground at focused locations, released slowly in a diffuse manner, retained on site and discharged directly to surface water, or will it be piped off site?)

Tip:  Check the Washington State Noxious Weed list before selecting plant material for vegetative cover and avoid use of any noxious weed species. Replant vegetative cover in a timely manner to minimize growth of weeds. Materials used for erosion control should be weed free.  A list of certified weed-free hay and mulch providers is maintained by the Washington Noxious Weed Control Board.   

Additional Resources:


Table of Contents


2. Air

 a. What types of emissions to the air would result from the proposal during construction, operation, and maintenance when the project is completed? If any, generally describe and give approximate quantities if known.

This question refers to any type of air pollutant and is not limited to "dust, automobile, odors, industrial wood smoke".  The quantity and duration of emissions during construction, operation and demolition are important here.

Some types of activities that generate either indoor or outdoor air pollution emissions or the potential to produce an odor nuisance include:

  • Abrasive blasting.
  • Asphalt preparation.
  • Chemical spraying. 
  • Coffee roasting.
  • Composting.
  • Concrete batching.
  • Dry cleaners.
  • Fuel dispensing or storage.
  • Landfill Manure application and storage.
  • Painting or surface coating.
  • Planting/anodizing.
  • Printing.
  • Rock or material crushing, grinding or transport.
  • Soil or groundwater remediation.
  • Solvent or other volatile liquid use or storage.
  • Sterilization processes.
  • Welding.
  • Wood processing.
  • Agricultural/residential waste burning.

Dust should be considered a potential air emission if upland vegetation will be removed, or if there will be grading, fill, excavation, rock crushing, demolition, etc.

Greenhouse gas emissions are considered an air pollutant and may be necessary to be included in this answer.

If the amount of emission cannot be quantified (such as from agricultural practices, wastewater facilities, or municipal landfills), describe the source(s), including quantities known or assumed. For example: Liquid manure from X dairy cows will be sprayed on X acres during the months of May through September, and will be collected on-site in an X-gallon capacity dairy lagoon.  It may also be helpful to check your estimates against existing data.


b. Are there any off-site sources of emissions or odor that may affect your proposal?  

Identify any regional air quality limitations (such as an air quality designated non-attainment area). For information of this type, contact your local Air Quality Authority or the Air Quality Program staff at your Department of Ecology regional office. Areas with existing air quality issues (smoke and other particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, odor, etc.) are more sensitive to impact and may adversely impact some project activities.


c. Proposed measures to reduce or control emissions or other impacts to air, if any

Management practices that will be used to reduce or eliminate dust or other air emissions include methods to contain, treat, or reduce odors or pollutant emissions.

  • Covering materials.
  • Covering or aerating wastewater lagoons.
  • Bag houses or air scrubbers.
  • Watering or stabilizing disturbed soils.
  • Using clean fuel/power.
  • Recycling solid waste (rather than burning or landfill).

Mitigation could also include watering roads, incorporating a mister into the crusher, lignin sulphate or other dust palliatives, and watering stockpiles.


Additional Resources:



Table of Contents


3. Water

a. Surface

Describe (and name whenever possible) any onsite or nearby surface waterbody, including streams (permanent, intermittent, or seasonal), rivers, ponds, wetlands, lakes, salt water, etc. (Although a distance has not been set by rule, within 200 feet or the width of the floodplain, whichever is larger, may be a good rule of thumb to use for determining "nearby.")

1. Is there any surface waterbody on or in the immediate vicinity of the site?

A good rule of thumb for determining "nearby" is determining if the site is within 300 feet of the ordinary high water mark or within the width of the floodplain -whichever is larger.

Water bodies include year round and seasonal streams, saltwater, lakes, ponds, wetlands, domestic water intakes, or any forested or un-forested wetlands on the site or down stream/down slope. Please identify possible fish bearing streams and note that an intermittent stream might have fish present for a few weeks or months of the year during periods of high flow.

Also note the presence of seeps, springs, wetlands or manmade water bodies. The site may appear dry but include areas that are transitional between open water and uplands, or it may be periodically inundated or saturated.

Please note any water quality issues relevant to the surrounding watershed such as a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL. This is a locally focused scientific study that calculates the pollution a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards. It provides information about the existing conditions and how sensitive the watershed is additional development impacts.

Describe any water-based invasive species known to exist in the area (e.g., water milfoil, New Zealand mud snails, yellow flag iris, Brazilian elodea) and steps taken to avoid their spread during the project.


2.  Will the project require any work over, in, or adjacent to (within 200 feet) the described waters?  

Any part of the project, plan, or other proposal that impacts the shoreline of a water body is identified in this answer.  Include grading, fill, or excavation; installation, construction, or demolition; paving; painting or maintenance activities; storage of materials; planting or removal of vegetation; etc. if it will occur within 200 feet of the water and describe where the activities will take place in relation to the waterbody.  

You must identify the possibility of intentional or inadvertent filling of, or runoff to streams, wetlands or other water bodies. Attach plans (or preliminary schematic drawing with all water bodies included), if appropriate for the type of activity. If the project involves impacts to aquatics lands, you may need a hydraulic project approval (HPA) from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, shoreline permits from the local government and possibly a use authorization from the Department of Natural Resources.  

Describe any water-based invasive species known to exist in the area (e.g., water milfoil, New Zealand mud snails, yellow flag iris, Brazilian elodea) and steps taken to avoid their spread during the project. Refer to the resources listed below for information:  

Describe any measures that will be taken to ensure that the equipment being used is not introducing or spreading invasive species. The Washington Invasive Species Council has developed prevention protocols to be used when working in or near water. For the removal or placement of in-water structures, describe how the material either to be removed or placed has been checked for invasive species and how any invasive species found will be removed and disposed of appropriately.

 Additional Resources:


3. Estimate the amount of fill and dredge material that would be placed in or removed from the surface water or wetlands and indicate the area of the site that would be affected  

Describe the quantity, type of material, and the location including the size of the area to be filled or dredged. Include the results of toxicity tests or other information about the fill or dredge material. Fill is any material that will change the bottom elevation of an aquatic area, wetland, or water body. Water bodies include year round and seasonal streams, saltwater, lakes, ponds, wetlands, domestic water intakes, or any forested or un-forested wetlands on the site or down stream/down slope.  

Example: Remove 4,000 cubic yards of silt and gravel from Big River to maintain navigational channel between river mile (RM) 3.5 and RM 6.2.  Results of toxicity tests are attached.  

Tip:  Also describe any measures that will be taken to ensure that the equipment being used is not introducing or spreading invasive species. The Washington Invasive Species Council has developed prevention protocols to be used when working in or near water. For the removal or placement of in-water structures, describe how the material either to be removed or placed has been checked for invasive species and how any invasive species found will be removed and disposed of appropriately.


4. Will the proposal require surface water withdrawals or diversions?

Describe the quantity and location of any surface water withdrawal or use even if for a non-consumptive use (meaning that the same quantity of water is returned to the waterbody). This includes temporary or long-term use. Diversions refer to changes in flow patterns, such as diverting a stream away from a building site or the creation of ponds or inlets.  Ecology regulates the withdrawal of water from surface and underground sources. A permit is not required if the withdrawal is less than 5,000 gallons per day for industrial or domestic use, or for stock watering. Any work that uses, diverts, obstructs, or changes the natural flow or bed of any fresh water or saltwater of the state may require a Hydraulic Project Approval from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. For projects involving State-Owned Aquatic Lands, a use authorization from Department of Natural Resources may be needed.  

Also consider the connectivity between water bodies for situations of water diversion. Does diversion source contain invasive species that could spread to a new water body?

 Additional Resources:


5. Does the proposal lie within a 100-year floodplain?

Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk. These zones are depicted on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Hazard Boundary Map. Each zone reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.

As applicable, identify the current designation for flood risk at the proposal site. This information is important and not limited to 100-year flood areas.

Additional Resources:


6. Does the proposal involve any discharge of waste materials into surface waters?

Include waste or contaminates associated with industrial wastewater; domestic sewerage; agricultural runoff; stormwater drainage from parking lots, equipment storage areas, chemically-treated lawns and landscaping; etc. Describe the source, the likely contaminates, and quantities if known.  

Waste materials means hot or very cold water, sediments, chemical by-products, wash water, sewage, stormwater and other pollutants.  

Discharge includes seeping or dripping of hot or very cold water; sediment filled water, controlled runoff, or liquid by-products of an activity, such as bore hole drilling waste products.  

Water bodies include year round and seasonal streams, saltwater, lakes, ponds, wetlands, domestic water intakes, or any forested or un-forested wetlands on the site or downstream/down slope. Please identify possible fish bearing streams and note that an intermittent stream might have fish present for a few weeks or months of the year during periods of high flow.


b. Groundwater

1. Will groundwater be withdrawn from a well for drinking water or other purposes? If so, give a general description of the well, proposed uses and approximate quantities withdrawn from the well? Will water be discharged to groundwater? Give general description, purpose, and approximate quantities if known.

Describe any new or increased groundwater extractions, including use or purpose and approximate quantities if known. For water discharges to ground, remember to consider how stormwater runoff collected from impervious surfaces is managed onsite. The water resources web map may be a helpful tool.


2. Describe waste material that will be discharged into the ground from septic tanks or other sources, if any

“Waste material” includes chemicals, sediments, agricultural (pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer) runoff, wash water, logging slash, log booming or storage debris, treated wood pilings, oil or other fuels from equipment used for construction and/or operational activities.

Septic systems are a primary source of waste discharges to ground, but unlined ponds or trenches used for discharge or storage of liquid waste (liquid manure, food processing waste, contaminated waters, etc.) should also be considered.  Remember to include size/quantities and to describe the nature/characteristics of the waste to the degree known.  

Include discharges to injection wells, if applicable. Injection wells are wells in which water or other fluids are injected back into the ground. Injection may be directly into a groundwater aquifer or into unsaturated substrate overlying an aquifer. Mention any unlined ponds or trenches that store or discharge waste.  Include size and/or quantities, and the type of waste if known. If the project is located above a sole source aquifer, that needs to be mentioned.

Additional Resources:


c. Water runoff (including stormwater)

1. Describe the sources of runoff and method of collection and disposal, if any.

Describe the following: source runoff; intended management systems; where and how the runoff will be discharged off the project site; and where and how the runoff will flow to ground or surface waters.

For Forest Practice proposals this may include road-cut slopes with the water being collected in the ditches with cross drains placing the water on the forest floor away from flowing streams. Skid trails, water bars, or silt traps would be other sources of water collection. The runoff may be caused by both  ground-based and/or cable logging equipment.  

For Surface Mining proposals or mining expansions, include the pre and post mining configuration of water bodies. Please note any new surface water locations that stormwater runoff might enter due to expanded mining activity. For projects involving underground drilling include the water control plan for the drill pad and slurry pond.

Additional Resources:


2. Could waste materials enter ground or surface waters?

In considering whether waste could be carried to ground or surface waters, consider potential sources of contamination (such as parking lots, equipment storage, agricultural practices, lawn and landscaping maintenance, animal waste, treated wood, eroding soils, etc.), any treatment provided, and where the runoff will flow or be discharged. Describe the type/source of potential contamination and the waterbody or aquifer it is likely to end up in.


3. Does the proposal alter or otherwise affect drainage patterns in the vicinity of the site? If so, describe?


d. Proposed measures to reduce or control surface, ground, runoff water, and drainage pattern impacts, if any

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4. Plants

a. Check the types of vegetation found on the site

Please list and further describe any that apply:

  • Deciduous trees (hardwoods, flowering etc.):  alder, maple, aspen, other (please list)
  • Evergreen trees:  fir, cedar, pine, other shrubs (please list)
  • Orchards, vineyards or other permanent crops
  • Grass. weeds, other cleared land vegetation
  • Pasture, agricultural crops or gardens
  • Wet soil plants: cattail, buttercup, bulrush, skunk cabbage, other (please list)
  • Water plants:  water lily, eelgrass, milfoil, other (please list)

Describe any other types of vegetation. Information on vegetation types could be available from your local city or county.


b. What kind and amount of vegetation will be removed or altered?

This is an important place to describe the total area of land clearing involved with all aspects of the proposal.

Please list the total area or amount of vegetation to be removed in acres or square footage. If selective removal or alteration of a relatively small number of individual trees or other plant(s) is planned, please list number of plants.

If harvesting timber, you can include information on board feet as well as the total acreage involved.

Describe measures taken to ensure any plant material or soils brought in or leaving the site are free of invasive plants, pests and diseases.


c. List threatened or endangered species known to the on or near the site

Information about rare, threatened, and endangered plant species within Washington can be found through the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Program.


d. Proposed landscaping, use of native plants, or other measures to preserve or enhance vegetation on the site, if any

If there is land disturbance planned, please provide a summary of the re-vegetation plan. This can include avoiding or minimizing disturbance, new plantings (particularly of native plant species), removal of invasive species, and reseeding. Protection, replacement, or enhancement of critical or otherwise valuable habitat and plant species is particularly important.

Please reference and summarize applicable local development regulations and describe how your proposal complies with these.


e. List all noxious weeds and invasive species

Describe if plant species present on site or used in the project are listed as noxious or invasive.


Additional Resources:


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5. Animals

a. List any birds and other animals, which have been observed on or near the site or are known to be on or near the site. Examples include:

Information on the types of animals in your area is available from the local Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) office and the links below.  Describe if animal species present on site are listed as prohibited, regulated or invasive.

Additional Resources:


b. List any threatened and endangered species known to be on or near the site

Threatened and endangered species lists are available at:


c. Is the site part of a migration route?

Consider birds, fish, and other wildlife when identifying affected migration routes. Your proposal could have an adverse consequence If the affected area includes rare or unique habitat, wildlife corridors, fish-bearing rivers and streams, lakes, ponds, or other areas where migrating birds are likely to stop.


d. Proposed measures to preserve or enhance wildlife, if any

Types of mitigation for adverse effects to animals could include:

  • Habitat restoration (native plantings, maintaining water quality and hydrology including temperature, stream flow, etc.; protection from human and domestic animal intrusion or noise, light, and glare; etc.).
  • Measures to preserve or restore fish and wildlife corridors.
  • Monitoring and ongoing stewardship of habitat with performance measures for adaptive management.
  • Measures to control or eradicate invasive species coming into and leaving the site.

Additional Resources:


e. List any invasive animal species known to be on or near the site.

Check the current list of invasive animal species to see if they are known to live in the area of the proposal.


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6. Energy and Natural Resources

a. What kinds of energy will be used to meet the completed project's energy needs?

List the types and quantity of energy resources involved with this proposal -or would result indirectly from this proposal (such as transportation fuel use). Include the estimated energy use in the construction, operation and maintenance as well as demolition phases.

If different energy types/sources will be used to address separate uses/needs, identify what type will be used for which use (such as natural gas for heating, cooking, and hot water; electricity for all other energy needs).


b.  Would your project affect the potential use of solar energy by adjacent properties?

List changes in vegetation cover as a direct or indirect result of the proposal.  Identify the potential for this change to increase shade coverage (measured in duration and area affected) for nearby properties.


c.  What kinds of energy conservation features are included in the plans of this proposal?

Conservation features refer to efficiency opportunities and options available to reduce impacts associated with energy consumption.

  • Maximize energy efficiency.
  • Choosing materials with lower transportation and other energy costs.
  • Use of renewable energy sources.
  • Design and maintenance measures to reduce product consumption and waste.


Additional Resources:


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7. Environmental Health

a. Are there any environmental health hazards, including exposure to toxic chemicals, risk of fire and explosion, spill, or hazardous waste, that could occur as a result of this proposal? If so, describe.

Environmental health -as defined by the World Health Organization -addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviors.

  • It includes the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health.
  • It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments.

The risk from toxic chemicals doesn't begin with a leaking drum of hazardous waste. It begins when we make products that contain toxic chemicals. Much of the pollution that enters our environment comes from the small but steady releases of toxic chemicals contained in everyday products such as the brakes on our cars, flame retardants in our furniture, softeners in plastics, and metals in roofing materials


1. Describe any known or possible contamination at the site from present or past uses

Describe any known or possible contamination at the site from present or past uses. Indicators of possible site contamination include some types of past uses: such as auto repair or wrecking facilities, gasoline dispensing facilities, dry cleaning, municipal dump site, radioactive waste, industrial site, log yard, agricultural uses (fertilizers or pesticides), etc.

Additional Resources:


2. Describe existing hazardous chemicals and conditions that might affect project development and design. This includes underground hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines located within the project area and in the vicinity.

This includes underground hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines located within the project area and within the 660 feet consultation zone of the project and easements associated with the pipeline.  For example, the location of a hazardous liquid or gas transmission pipeline(s) within 660 feet of the project site poses a potential hazard during planning, development and the operating life of a project.

Additional Resources:


3. Describe any toxic or hazardous chemicals that might be stored, used, or produced during the project's development or construction, or at any time during the operating life of the project.


4. Describe special emergency services that might be required.

Thinking ahead and planning for emergencies, as required under the Dangerous Waste Regulations (Chapter 173-303 WAC), can help you prevent a small hazardous waste spill from turning into a dangerous and expensive contamination problem.

The proposal could require a special response plan for potential hazardous waste emergencies. This could include:

  • The capabilities and proper use of emergency equipment including communications and alarm systems.
  • How to respond to fires, explosions, spills, releases to air, and ground water contamination incidents.
  • Procedures for using, inspecting, repairing and replacing your emergency equipment (and monitoring equipment, such as temperature or pressure indicators, if you have any).
  • The details of any automatic waste feed cut-off systems.
  • Steps for the shut-down of operations.  

Special Services involving hazardous materials can include the following:

  • In the event of a fire, call the fire department or attempt to extinguish the fire.
  • In the event of a spill, contain the flow of the spill as much as possible, cleanup the waste and any contaminated materials as soon as practicable, and call the nearest Ecology regional office.
  • If a fire, explosion or other release could threaten human health outside your business or could reach streams, lakes or ground water, call the nearest Ecology regional office and the National Response Center (1-800-424-8802) with the following information:
    • Your name, address and RCRA Identification Number
    • Date, time and type of incident
    • Amount and type of hazardous waste involved in the incident
    • Extent of any injuries
    • Estimate of the amount of recovered materials and how you have managed these wastes.


5. Proposed measures to reduce or control environmental health hazards, if any:

But cleanup after the fact is the most expensive way to deal with toxics. Businesses and other facilities that use toxics must follow a complex system of state and federal rules on proper management and disposal of those substances.

Ultimately, the smartest, cheapest and healthiest approach to reducing toxic threats is to prevent the use of toxic chemicals in our products and from being washed into our water systems.

b. Noise

1. What types of noise exist in the area that may affect your project?

List the types and approximate level of on-site and surrounding (ambient) noise. Consider noises associated with vehicles, machinery, drilling, blasting, crushing, dropping of heavy objects, sports fields, playgrounds, loud music, animals, bells, sirens, whistles, other alarms, etc. Describe noise levels at different times of day and times of year.


2. What types and levels of noise would be created by or associated with the project on a short-term or a long-term basis?

Noise can be considered any sound that is undesired or interferes with one's hearing of something. Describe the sources and levels of noise generated as a direct or indirect result of this proposal.  Please include all phases of development from construction to operation and maintenance and possibly demolition if applicable.


3. Proposed measures to reduce or control noise impacts, if any.

  • Maintenance or construction of berms or vegetated buffers.
  • Site noise source(s) away from receptors (human and animal).
  • Limiting operational hours.
  • Designing structures to absorb noise.
  • Selection of equipment or  power source to be used.


Additional Resources:


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8. Land and Shoreline Use

a. What is the current use of the site and adjacent properties? Will the proposal affect current land uses on nearby or adjacent properties? If so, describe.

Please provide information about the past, present and future foreseeable land uses of the area affected by the proposal. Please be specific as possible.

  • Agricultural (orchard, crop farm, cattle ranch, dairy farm, poultry, etc.).
  • Residential (apartments/condominiums, townhouses/duplexes, single-family homes, group home, etc.).
  • Commercial (gas station/mini-mart, restaurant, grocery store, strip mall, super mall, etc.).
  • Community or public services (school, church, daycare, fire station, etc.).
  • Industrial (warehouse, light manufacturing, pulp and paper mill, refinery, etc.).
  • Natural resource (forest land, mining, wildlife preserve, etc.). Recreational (golf course, country club, resort, part, etc.).


b. Has the project site been used as working farmlands or working forest lands? If so, describe. How much agricultural or forest land of long-term commercial significance will be converted to other uses as a result of the proposal, if any? If resource lands have not been designated, how many acres in farmland or forest land tax status will be converted to non-farm or non-forest use?

Agricultural activity can include activity which occurs on a farm in connection with the commercial production of farm products and includes, but is not limited to, marketed produce at roadside stands or farm markets; More information is included in the definition in RCW 7.48.310.

As in other states, the pressure to convert farmland to urban and suburban uses is substantial because farmland is usually relatively easy to develop, and it is difficult to make a living from a small farm. Farmers in Washington State face the following:

  • Loss of traditional advantages like adequate water, low electricity rates, efficient transportation system.
  • Increasing competition for water, related to the protection of endangered salmon, demand related to new development for limited water rights, and increasing costs associated with environmental regulations such as the Shoreline Management Act, Endangered Species Act, and others.
  • Substantial transportation costs due to distance from U.S. markets and increased congestion.
  • Lack of available low-cost labor.
  • Consolidation of agricultural production into larger farms.

Federal Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA) Resources:


1. Will the proposal affect or be affected by surrounding working farm or forest land normal business operations, such as oversize equipment access, the application of pesticides, tilling, and harvesting? If so, how:

Know Your Farming Neighbors. Learn more about the specific challenges facing farms in your region and find out what you can do to help. Contact American Farmland Trust’s Farmland Information Center toll free at (800) 370-4879 to find all the resources you need to help farmers stay on the land.  


c. Describe any structures on the site.

Describe all structures and include size, number, and past uses.


d. Will any structures be demolished? If so, what?

Structures are not limited to buildings, but can include bridges, cell towers, fuel tanks, pipelines, etc.  Describe the size of the structures and method and timing of demolition.  


e. What is the current zoning classification of the site?

Please include the complete name (instead of listing the abbreviation) of the existing land-use category on the proposed site as well as any proposed changes to the zoning designation.  Include the allowable density as well as the classification. Contact the applicable city or county for this information.


f. What is the current comprehensive plan designation of the site?

Please include the complete name (instead of listing the abbreviation) of the existing land-use designation on the proposed site as well as any proposed changes requiring a comprehensive plan amendment. Contact the applicable city or county for this information.

Additional Resources:


g. If applicable, what is the current shoreline master program designation of the site?

Shoreline Master Plans are local land use policies and regulations designed to manage shoreline use. If the proposed site includes or affects the area within 200 feet of a shoreline of the state, provide the applicable designation.

Additional Resources:


h. Has any part of the site been classified as a critical area by the city or county? If so, specify.

Indicate if the proposed site has any special protection designation –such as critical area.  Other areas designated as "protected areas" or "reserves" could also be within or adjacent to the proposed site. Local jurisdictions may designate a "critical area" restriction for development when there is the presence of wetlands, streams and surface waterbodies, aquifer recharge areas, frequently flooded areas, geologic hazards, or fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.

Additional Resources:

i. Approximately how many people would reside or work in the completed project?

For number of workers, please provide an estimated range if exact number is unknown. 

For number of residents, the following occupancy rates may be used to calculate the number of people expected to reside within the following types of housing (unless occupancy is determined by design such as a nursing home, correctional facility etc.)

  • 2.8 persons per single family residence
  • 1.9 persons per unit in multi-unit housing.
  • 2.4 persons per mobile home.


j. Approximately how many people would the completed project displace?

  • Describe how people use the current area. How many people live there?  Work there?  Recreate?  Shop?
  • How will this use change and who will be affected?


k. Proposed measures to avoid or reduce displacement impacts, if any:

Reduction of adverse effects includes avoidance, minimizing, and compensation. Please identify proposed mitigation as well as other potential alternatives to reduce the level of displacement impacts associated either directly or indirectly with the proposal.


l. Proposed measures to ensure the proposal is compatible with existing and projected land uses and plans, if any:

Based on the answers to the land-use questions above, describe how (not if) the proposal complies with existing and proposed designations. Beyond those named in section 8 in the checklist, the following are examples of plans and designations that the proponent and agencies may also wish to consider in light of the direct and indirect impacts associated with the proposal.

  • Local subarea plan or overlay zones.
  • State designated harbor.
  • Air quality non-attainment areas.
  • State salmon recovery plans.
  • State wildlife plans.
  • Watershed management plan.
  • Habitat conservation plan.
  • Wild and Scenic River designation.
  • State or national park, monument, wilderness, wildlife refuge, marine sanctuary, scenic area.
  • County weed control plan or county noxious weed list.    


m. Proposed measures to ensure the proposal is compatible with nearby agricultural and forestlands of long-term commercial significance, if any:

Farmland Preservation Techniques and Sustainable Agriculture Resources:


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9. Housing

a. Approximately how many units would be provided, if any?

For residential, mixed use or industrial developments with onsite worker housing, please provide the number of housing units and income level (high, medium or low)

Additional Resources


b. Approximately how many units, if any, would be eliminated?

Describe the number and income category (high, medium, or low) of any housing units that could be displaced either directly or indirectly.


c. Proposed measures to reduce or control housing impacts, if any.

What, if any, are the associated adverse impacts from increased or decreased housing units as a result of this proposal? Are these impacts limited to or more severe to a specific class or economic status?

Describe the proposed mitigation measures to avoid, reduce, or compensate for the identified impacts.


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10. Aesthetics

a. What is the tallest height of any proposed structure(s), not including antennas; what is the principle exterior building material(s) proposed?

  • Building Height
    • Although antennas are excluded, other appurtenances are included in building height, such as smoke stacks, chimneys, vents, etc.
  • Exterior material of new structures associated with the proposal or as an indirect result of the proposal
    • Describe materials, color as well as the total area of windows


b. What views in the immediate vicinity would be altered or obstructed?

Describe both scenic and non-scenic views that will change. Answer "none" only if the appearance of the site will remain unchanged.


c. Proposed measures to reduce or control aesthetic impacts, if any:

Mitigation for impacts to aesthetic resources could include the following:

  • Construction and maintenance of berms and/or vegetated buffers.
  • Aesthetic design of structures.
  • Minimizing view obstructions.
  • Preserving character of the area.

Viewsheds are highly valued by persons recreating, traveling, working and/or living in the proposed area. Adverse effects should be considered in the early design and approval processes.


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11. Light and Glare

a. What type of light or glare will the proposal produce? What time of day will it mainly occur?

Types of light and glare produced either directly or indirectly from the proposal could include the following:

  • Indoor lighting that may be seen through windows.
  • Fixed outdoor lighting such as street lights, signage, parking lots, etc.
  • Vehicles.
  • Mirrored and un-mirrored glass and other reflective surfaces.

Include the time of day and frequency that each source produces light and/or glare.


b. Could light or glare from the finished project be a safety hazard or interfere with views?

Consider potential safety impacts to motorists, boaters, air traffic, and pedestrians on and offsite; as well as safety and/or view impacts to nearby residents, area workers, tourists, wildlife, and domestic animals.


c. What existing off-site sources of light or glare may affect your proposal?

  • What are the current conditions surrounding the area regarding light and glare?
  • How will this affect the construction or operation of the project?
  • How will the combined level of light and glare from the proposal and the surrounding area create additional light pollution impacts?


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12. Recreation

a. What designated and informal recreational opportunities are in the immediate vicinity?

This information helps reviewers better understand the community impacts of a development project.

Please be as specific as possible about formally designated recreation areas and informal uses such as traditional shoreline access and common fishing spots. Other examples include:

  • Walking, hiking, biking, picnicking.
  • Dirt biking, dune buggies, horseback riding.
  • Play ground, ball field, tennis or basketball courts, golf course.
  • Recreation center, swimming area or pool, boating, rafting, fishing, beach combing.
  • Park, stadium, museum, aquarium, zoo, or other wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • Theater, fair, convention center or other public facility.


b. Would the proposed project displace any existing recreational uses?

Consider how all aspects of the proposal will directly impede, interfere, or prevent current and reasonably foreseeable future recreational uses. These could include (but are not limited to):

  • Shoreline access.
  • Shellfish harvesting.
  • Swimming, boating, and other water activities.
  • Wildlife viewing.
  • Hiking, camping, horseback riding, skiing.


c. Proposed measures to reduce or control impacts on recreation, including recreation opportunities to be provided by the project or applicant, if any.

These measures could include:

  • Development or improvement of a playground.
  • Recreation center.
  • Donation of park land or facilities to a recreation agency.
  • Donation of land for a park facility, club house, or providing access to a beach, etc.


Additional Resources:


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13. Historic and Cultural Preservation


The cultural and historic resources of a community tell the story of its past -one that is distinct from all other places. From lumber mills to schools, sacred landscapes to archaeological sites, rustic cabins to office towers, these elements of the environment are unique non-renewable resources.

Environmental laws and review processes at the federal, state, and local level typically require consideration be given to protecting significant historic, archaeological, and traditional cultural sites from damage or loss during development. The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), local historic preservation organizations and Tribal governments work with agencies, private citizens, and developers to identify and develop protection strategies to assure that Washington’s cultural heritage is not lost.

Occasionally this consultation may require the assistance of professional cultural resource management personnel to complete the various tasks.

Compliance programs reviewed by Tribes, cultural resource agencies and organizations:

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act - The National Historic Preservation Act requires that all federal agencies consider cultural resources as part of all licensing, permitting, and funding decisions. As part of that process, each agency must consult with DAHP and others to assure that cultural resources are identified, and receive a formal opinion on the cultural/historic significance of the affected area and the probable impacts of the agency’s decision.

State Environmental Policy Act - SEPA requires agencies to consider impacts to cultural resources as part of their environmental review process. DAHP and others provide technical expertise and may issue formal opinions to local governments and other state agencies regarding impacts of specific projects as well as land-use plans and other comprehensive programs.

Forest Practices Act  - The Forest Practices Rules establish standards for forest practices such as timber harvest, pre-commercial thinning, road construction, fertilization, and forest chemical application (Title 222 WAC). They give direction on how to implement the Forest Practices Act (chapter 76.09 RCW) and Stewardship of Non-industrial Forests and Woodlands (chapter 76.13 RCW). The rules are designed to protect public resources such as historic and cultural sites while maintaining a viable timber industry.

Governor's Executive Order 05-05 - This order requires that all state agencies with capital improvement projects to integrate the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs (GOIA), and concerned tribes into their capital project planning process in order to protect the public interest in historic and cultural sites.

Shoreline Management Act - The Shoreline Management Act requires that development permits issued by local governments in areas with archaeological sites require a site inspection or evaluation by a professional archaeologist in coordination with affected Indian Tribes prior to issuing development permits.


a. Are there any buildings, structures, or sites, located on or near the site that are over 45 years old listed in or eligible for listing in national, state, or local preservation registers located on or near the site? If so, specifically describe.

For projects affecting structures 45 years or older, please complete and submit a Historic Property Inventory form from the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP).

DAHP may require more intensive investigation or mitigation of impacts to the structure depending on the historical significance of the building.

Additional Resources:


b. Are there any landmarks, features, or other evidence of Indian or historic use or occupation. This may include human burials or old cemeteries. Are there any material evidence, artifacts, or areas of cultural importance on or near the site? Please list any professional studies conducted at the site to identify such resources.

This question cannot be answered in ignorance. It must include a process that incorporates historic research, tribal consultation, data gathering, and archaeological survey. SEPA rules require that decisions made during environmental review be based on sufficient information. Threshold determinations must be "based upon information reasonably sufficient to evaluate the environmental impact of a proposal (WAC 197-11-335).

Historical and archaeological places are broadly defined as location, structures or other evidence containing material remains of human life or activity which are of archaeological and historic significance, or which contain places associated with a personality important in history, or those sites where significant cultural or historic events have taken place, even if no physical evidence of the event remains.

A good place to start is WISAARD, the on-line searchable database for cultural resources in the State,. The Washington Information System for Architectural and Archaeological Records Data (WISAARD), allows users to search for listed properties via a map or a text query.

For any ground disturbing activities, please complete DAHP’s EZ-1 form or conduct a site specific cultural resources survey (when there is a high likelihood of cultural resources on the project site). Use DAHP’s Cultural Resource Report Cover Sheet for cultural resources surveys.

Note: The reference to “near the site” is not limited to “adjacent to the site.” Impacts associated with the proposal (during construction, operation/maintenance, and demolition) may extend beyond the boundaries of the project site.

The local government in your jurisdiction have a certification is known as a "Certified Local Government" or "CLG." Responsibilities of a CLG include maintaining a historic preservation commission, surveying local historic properties, enforcing state or local preservation laws, reviewing National Register Nominations, and providing for public participation in historic preservation activities. Find a list of current program participants here.

Preservation Planning – and creating a Cultural Resource Management Plan, including a model plan outline.


c. Describe the methods used to assess the potential impacts to cultural and historic resources on or near the project site. Examples include consultation with tribes and the department of archeology and historic preservation, archaeological surveys, historic maps, GIS data, etc.

Each Tribe is a sovereign nation and has its own definition of appropriate consultation. However, below are some materials to assist you in your consultation efforts:

In addition, some Tribes have provided their own consultation protocols to DAHP for inclusion on this website. To view them, click the appropriate link. If a Tribal government is not listed, please contact the Tribe individually to ask for proper protocols.

Resources for Tribal Contacts include, but are not limited to, the following:


d. Proposed measures to avoid, minimize, or compensate for loss, changes to, and disturbance to resources. Please include plans for the above and any permits that may be required.

Applicable database searches and resource surveys could be necessary for an adequate evaluation of impacts. A survey or other type of analysis is not usually a mitigation measure (it is supplemental to the checklist) and a SEPA threshold document alone cannot impose conditions.

What measures do you propose to avoid, minimize or mitigate for deliberate impacts to historic structures or cultural resources? What measures do you proposed to avoid, minimize or mitigate for the impacts to inadvertent discoveries?

  • Review DAHP's recordation guidelines if documentation is proposed to serve as a mitigation measure.
  • Avoidance with modifying project.
  • Maintaining, or restoring the integrity of the site or landmark to the extent possible.
  • Relocating the structure or artifact.
  • Meeting tribal needs for the sanctity of the location.
  • Require compliance with an Inadvertent Discovery Plan

Additional Resources:


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14. Transportation

a. Identify public streets and highways serving the site or affected geographic area, and describe proposed access to the existing street system. Show on site plans, if any.

Highways or other major arterials listed need not directly access the site but are the major roads likely to be used by employees, customers, or residents and for the transport of materials or good on or off the project.

We need to know if the proposal will likely contribute to an existing safety, noise, dust, maintenance, or other transportation problem, such as increasing the road use. A public street map is needed to show access to the site if a vicinity map is not provided. Please describe the site access roads.


b. Is the site or affected geographic area currently served by public transit? If so, generally describe. If not, what is the approximate distance to the nearest transit stop?

Include details as to the type (bus, subway, train, etc.) as well as the distance to the nearest station or stop.

Additional Resources:


c. How many additional parking spaces would the completed project or nonproject proposal have? How many would the project or proposal eliminate?

Please include the following information as applicable:

  • The type of vehicles designated for lot.
  • How many spaces and configuration.
  • How many spaces eliminated.
  • How the parking plan complies with applicable local requirements

Additional Resources:


d. Will the proposal require any new, or improvements to, existing roads, streets, pedestrian, bicycle or state transportation facilities, not including driveways? If so, generally describe (indicate whether public or private).

Describe and provide a map of confirmed and probable new roadways. Please include the following information:

  • Number of lanes and turn lanes.
  • Road surfacing.
  • Lighting and signage.
  • Stormwater conveyance.
  • Safety barriers.

Additional Resources:


e. Will the project or proposal use (or occur in the immediate vicinity of) water, rail, or air transportation? If so, generally describe.

How will all components (materials transport, operations, product export, waste treatment etc.) proposal use air, water, or rail transportation? Please describe the adequacy of available facilities and services. Also consider:

  • Transport of raw materials.
  • Product delivery.
  • Waste disposal.
  • Employee or residential commute.

Additional Resources:


f. How many vehicular trips per day would be generated by the completed project or proposal? If known, indicate when peak volumes would occur and what percentage of the volume would be trucks (such as commercial and non-passenger vehicles). What data or transportation models were used to make these estimates?

Trips per day is the measure of vehicle trips to and from the project site during a given 24-hour period. Many agencies also require information on peak hour trips and it may speed review of your project to include that information on the checklist as well.

Please include the trips that are directly associated with the proposal as well as indirect results of structural or facility uses.

Direct effects: occur at the same time and location as the proposal occurs.

Indirect effects: occur later in time or removed by distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable. Indirect effects may include growth inducing effects and other effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density or growth rate, and related effects on air and water and other natural systems, including ecosystems.

The availability of public transportation, encouragement of car or van pooling, the use of flex-shifts or telecommuting, as well as other traffic mitigation measures may be used to decrease the estimates of traffic generated by the project, but should be detailed in your answer to question B14g. below.

Other questions to consider:

  • Is the study area large enough to include all indirect impacts from the development?
  • Does it include all critical intersections?
  • Were traffic counts taken during the critical time periods?
  • Are traffic counts recent?
  • Have all the assumptions used in the technical analysis been clearly identified?
  • Do calculated levels of service seem reasonable?
  • Does the community have acceptable standards for level of service?
  • Does the description of the proposed site agree with the site plan submitted?
  • Have trip rates been adjusted to account for public transportation, pedestrians or pass-by-trips?
  • Does the directional distribution of the site traffic seem reasonable?
  • Has pedestrian circulation been accommodated?
  • Has adequate parking been provided to meet demand?


g. Will the proposal interfere with, affect or be affected by the movement of agricultural and forest products on roads or streets in the area? If so, generally describe.

Studies indicate that the transportation of one ton of freight uses one gallon of fuel to move 202 miles by rail, 514 miles by inland barge, but only 59 miles by truck. Congestion occurs when the number of vehicles seeking to use a mode or a choke point at any time exceeds the capacity of that mode or point.

Additional Resources:


h. Proposed measures to reduce or control transportation impacts, if any: Identify public streets and highways serving the site, and describe proposed access to the existing street system.

Mitigation includes avoiding impacts as well as reducing and compensating for them. It may include:

  • Providing additional parking.
  • Road improvements (road widening, added signs or signalization, turn-lanes, etc.).
  • A transportation plan for reducing commute trips per day - particularly during peak hours.
  • In lieu fees.
  • Consolidation of trips by providing mixed use development.
  • Alternative modes of transportation.
  • Pedestrian friendly design by including smaller set-backs, requirements for parking behind buildings, and building sidewalks—including sidewalks that provide connections from the development to residential areas.

Additional Resources:


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15. Public Services

a. Would the project result in an increased need for public services (for example: Fire protection, police protection, public transit, health care, schools, other)? If so, generally describe.

Public services that are affected by development projects can include:

  • Emergency services.
  • School enrollment.
  • Police and law enforcement.
  • Public transit.
  • Energy and utilities.

In describing increased service demand, include the type of service as well as the reason for increased demand.

Additional Resources:


b. Proposed measures to reduce or control direct impacts on public services, if any.

Mitigation could include:

  • Providing on-site security or other emergency services.
  • Operational or design measures to reduce emergency risks.
  • Impact fees.

Impact fees are used to fund facilities, such as roads, schools, and parks, that are directly associated with the new development. They may be used to pay the proportionate share of the cost of public facilities that benefit the new development; however, impact fees cannot be used to correct existing deficiencies in public facilities. In Washington, impact fees are authorized for those jurisdictions planning under the Growth Management Act (RCW 82.02.050 - .110), as part of “voluntary agreements” under RCW 82.02.020, and as mitigation for impacts under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA – Ch. 43.21C RCW).

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16. Utilities

a. Circle/list the utilities currently available at the site:

Electricity, natural gas, water, refuse service, telephone, sanitary sewer, septic system, other.

Include those utilities that are accessible at the proposal site and note which services will require installation of connection lines to serve the proposal under B16b below.


b. Describe the utilities that are proposed for the project, the utility providing the service, and the general construction activities on the site or in the immediate vicinity that might be needed.

Identify all of the utilities needed for all phases of the proposal. Please provide the name of the service provider and describe any construction required for access.

Example: Natural gas from Johnson Gas Co. with installation of a distribution line from Missouri St and 123rd Ave north to extension of Newton St and 123rd Ave north to extension of Newton St and from Newton St to each lot.

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Section C. Signature

A signature verifies that someone (usually the proponent) is responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the information in the checklist. The signee can be one of the following:

  • Private proponent -manager or president
  • Private proponent -landowner
  • Agency proponent -project manager
  • Lead agency -Responsible Official

Please note that electronic signatures may be sufficient under WAC 197-11-315(7). “The lead agency may determine the appropriate methods for receipt of electronic submittals of the checklist from applicants including electronic signature of Part C of the checklist.”



Section D: Supplemental Sheet for Non-Project Actions

Nonproject actions are governmental actions involving decisions on policies, plans, or programs containing standards for controlling use or modifying the environment, or that will govern a series of connected actions. Nonproject action analysis provides an opportunity to analyze planned actions before projects begin and permits applications are prepared. The early SEPA analysis results in a more streamlined permitting process when a planned action does occur as the impacts have already been analyzed.

General Guidance for Nonproject Actions

The procedural requirements for SEPA review of a nonproject proposal are the same as a project proposal. Environmental review starts as early in the process as possible when there is sufficient information to analyze the probable environmental impacts of the proposal. The first step is usually to complete an environmental checklist (including Part D, Supplemental Sheet for Nonproject Activities, unless the lead agency has already determined that an environmental impact statement is needed or SEPA has already been completed.

Whenever possible, the proposal should be described in terms of alternative means of accomplishing an objective [WAC 197-11-060(3)(a)]. For example, a statewide plan for use of chemicals to treat aquatic vegetation could be described as a plan to control aquatic vegetation. This would encourage the review of various alternatives for treating vegetation in addition to the use of chemicals. This might include a review of biological or mechanical methods, or a combination of the various methods.

Also see optional Non-Project Review Form to use as a worksheet or attachment to the SEPA checklist.

If the nonproject action is a land-use decision or similar proposal that will govern future project development, the probable impacts need to be considered of the future development that would be allowed. For example, environmental analysis of a zone designation should analyze the likely impacts of the development allowed within that zone. The more specific the analysis at this point, the less environmental review needed when a project permit application is submitted.

Also see GMA nonproject information.

Only government agencies can initiate nonproject action review and requirements vary by jurisdiction. If you have additional questions please contact the Office of Regulatory Assistance or email the SEPA Unit at Ecology sepahelp@ecy.wa.gov.


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