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Shoreline Master Programs

Cowlitz County Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

Public Comment Requested - April 4, 2017 to May 4, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

The Washington Department of Ecology seeks public comment on Cowlitz County’s proposed update to its Shoreline Master Program.

The newly updated shoreline program will completely replace the existing Cowlitz County program which was first adopted in 1978 and has only gone through minor amendments. More than 650 miles of shoreline are located within unincorporated areas of the county. In all, the county contains 59 rivers and eight lakes. The County’s shorelines are diverse with several large rivers such the Columbia, Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis; large lakes such as the Yale, Swift, and Merwin reservoirs; and large wetland complexes such as Coal Creek Slough and Silver Lake; and, several smaller lakes and streams in the Upper Chehalis, Grays-Elochoman, Cowlitz, and Lewis watersheds. These shoreline areas support a wide variety of uses, with several ports, hydroelectric facilities, forestry lands, state parks, and natural areas essential for fish and wildlife.

The updated program was created to accommodate the existing uses and structures in and along the shoreline while planning and regulating future uses and structures to shape Cowlitz County’s shorelines of the state in years to come.  

Ecology will compare the Cowlitz County proposed program to the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. Based on the comparison, Ecology will decide whether to:

  • Approve the program as is or with recommended changes, or
  • Send the proposed program back to the County with required changes to meet statutory and rule requirements. Recommended changes may also be included with the required changes.

Learn more: Citizen Guide to Shoreline Master Programs

Public comment period

Opens: April 4, 2017
Closes: May 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

All interested parties are invited to provide comment about the proposed amendment during this public comment period. There are several ways to provide comments. You only need to submit your comments once.

Submit written comments and questions to:

Regional Planner: Sarah Cassal
  Washington State Department of Ecology
Mailing address: Southwest Regional Office
  PO Box 47775
  Olympia, Washington 98504-7775
Direct line: 360-407-7459


Ecology must receive comments no later than May 4, 2017 at 5 p.m.

Documents for public review and comment

Note: All documents are PDF.


If you have troubles accessing documents, please contact Sarah Cassal, Washington Department of Ecology.

Paper copies are available at the following locations:

Washington Department of Ecology
Southwest Regional Office
300 Desmond Drive SE
Lacey, Washington 98503
Staff contact: Sarah Cassal
Phone: 360-407-7459

Cowlitz County
Planning and Building Department
207 4th Avenue N.
Kelso, Washington 98626
Staff contact: Ron Melin, Senior Environmental Planner
Phone: 360-577-3052 ext. 6661

Next steps: Response to public comment and decision

A summary of comments will be posted here a few weeks after the comment period closes. We will also post the County's response to comments and a notice of Ecology’s decision when they become available. Please check back.

For more information

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