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Shoreline Master Programs

Adams County Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

On April 14, 2016, the Department of Ecology approved Adams County Shoreline Master Program (SMP) comprehensive update. Per RCW 90.58.090, the effective date of Adam County’s SMP is April 28, 2016, 14 days after Ecology provided notice to Adams County that their shoreline program was approved.

The Washington Department of Ecology held a public comment period on Adams County’s proposed comprehensive update to their Shoreline Master Program. The period for public comment was from November 9, 2015 to December 10, 2015.

Ecology used mail and email to notify those who had expressed prior interest. Ecology also issued a news release to encourage public participation and comment. Ecology has received 3 written comments from Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and Futurewise. Comments are focused on a variety of issues including; shoreline vegetation conservation, environmental designations, nonconforming structures, treated wood for docks, shoreline jurisdiction, and geologically hazardous areas.

Ecology has prepared a summary of public comments and sent this to the Adams County on December 15, 2015. The County wrote a response to the public comments on January 18, 2016.  The public comments and county’s responses have been incorporated into Attachment A: Findings and Conclusions (below).

The original Adams County SMP was approved by Ecology in 1977.  The SMP has never been comprehensively updated. This SMP update is also needed to address land use changes that have occurred along the county’s shorelines over the past 38 years and to provide consistency between the updated SMP and the environmental protection and land use management policies and practices of Adams County. This comprehensive SMP update is intended to entirely replace the county’s existing SMP. This updated SMP will regulate 254 linear miles of river and lake shoreline which includes Cow Creek, Lower Crab Creek, Rock Creek, the Palouse River and 21 lakes, land within 200 of OHWM of these waterbodies, and associated wetlands. The updated SMP is a significant upgrade from the current 1977 SMP. The proposed SMP contains locally tailored shoreline management policies, regulations, environmental designations, and administrative provisions that have been updated to reflect these changes. Overall, the state SMP guidelines are more restrictive than they were for the 1977 SMP and this SMP is consistent with Shoreline Management Act policy, the applicable guidelines and implementing rules.

Documents related to approval

Note: All documents are PDF

Paper copies of the above documents are available by contacting Lennard Jordan, Washington Department of Ecology (see below).


  • Per RCW 90.58.190(2) and RCW 36.70A.290, an interested party may file an appeal with the Growth Management Hearings Board within 60 days of the publication date of Ecology’s written notice of final action.
  • Ecology plans to publish the notice of final action in Ritzville Adams County Journal, The Columbia Basin Herald, and Othello Outlook legal ads on April 28, 2016.

Staff contact

Lennard Jordan
Washington State Department of Ecology
Central Regional Office
1250 West Alder Street
Union Gap, Washington 98504-7775

For more information


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