SEPA Environmental Checklist

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


Purpose of the Checklist

Governmental agencies use this checklist to help determine whether the environmental impacts of your proposal are significant. This information is also helpful to determine if available avoidance, minimization or compensatory mitigation measures will address the probable significant impacts or if an environmental impact statement will be prepared to further analyze the proposal.

Instructions for Applicants

This environmental checklist asks you to describe some basic information about your proposal. Please answer each question accurately and carefully, to the best of your knowledge. You may need to consult with an agency specialist or private consultant for some questions. You may use "not applicable" or "does not apply" only when you can explain why it does not apply and not when the answer is unknown. You may also attach or incorporate by reference additional studies reports. Complete and accurate answers to these questions often avoid delays with the SEPA process as well as later in the decision-making process.

The checklist questions apply to all parts of your proposal, even if you plan to do them over a period of time or on different parcels of land. Attach any additional information that will help describe your proposal or its environmental effects. The agency to which you submit this checklist may ask you to explain your answers or provide additional information reasonably related to determining if there may be significant adverse impact.

Use of Checklist for Non-Project Proposals

Non-Project 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. Non-project 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 Non-Project Actions

The procedural requirements for SEPA review of a non-project 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 Non-project 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.

If the non-project 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.

Only government agencies can initiate non-project action review and requirements vary by jurisdiction.

If you have additional questions please contact the SEPA Unit at Ecology.

Section A: Background

Section B: Environmental Elements

Section C: Signature

Section D: Supplemental Sheet for Non-Project Actions

Back to Top