Shoreline Management photo

Shoreline Management

Shorelines are where the land and water meet – the edge of lakes, streams and rivers, and marine waters.

Safekeeping Washington's shores

Washington has about 28,000 miles of shorelines – more than the distance around the Earth.

Our shorelines include both quiet breeding areas for blue-ribbon trout and areas where 30-foot waves build and carry away beaches. This wild, dynamic nature of shorelines draws us to the water’s edge.

Managing our use and development of shorelines is important. It helps us to preserve what we value and protect life and property. Sharing and caring for shorelines is everyone’s responsibility.

Shoreline Master Programs

Local Shoreline Master Programs apply the Shoreline Management Act at the community level. The Act was adopted by the public in 1972 to help manage shorelines.

Shoreline Permits and Enforcement

Conditional use, substantial development permits, and variances are required for some shoreline uses. The permits are administered by local governments with the Department of Ecology’s review and approval required in some cases.

Coastal Zone Management Program

Washington actively participates in the national Coastal Zone Management Program and receives federal funding for managing our coastal shorelines.

Ocean Management

The Department of Ecology works to improve Washington’s ocean management through participation in the State Ocean Caucus, West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health, Pacific Coast Collaborative, and other efforts.



Puget Sound Starts Here

WA Sea Grant

WA Conservation Commission and Districts

NOAA (Coasts)


Puget Sound Feeder Bluffs

Floods and Floodplain Management

Marine Spatial Planning

Mitigation that Works

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Preserve

Puget Sound Shorelines

Washington Coastal Atlas

Washington’s Outer Coast

Watershed Planning

Washington Waters – Ours to Protect