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Shoreline Master Programs

Walla Walla Coalition Shoreline Master Program: Comprehensive Update

Public Comment Requested - August 29, 2016 to September 27, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

The Washington Department of Ecology seeks public comment on the proposed Shoreline Master Program updates for the Walla Walla Coalition (Coalition).  Members of the Coalition include Walla Walla County, the cities of Walla Walla, Prescott and Waitsburg.

Walla Walla County’s shoreline encompasses approximately 225 miles of the Columbia, Snake, Walla Walla, and Touchet rivers, Mill Creek, lower Yellowhawk Creek, and Bennington Lake.  The program also regulates 18.9 square miles of upland shorelands.

The city of Walla Walla’s program manages the unique characteristics of Mill Creek because it flows through part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mill Creek Flood Control Project.  Mill Creek’s conditions through the City are a stark contrast to the nearly pristine conditions of the upper watershed in the region’s Blue Mountains.  Within the city the creek is contained by a man-made channel, sometimes flowing under buildings in the downtown core, and exhibits very low flows due to diversions into Yellowhawk Creek. Although the creek is highly modified it is important for migration and rearing for spring Chinook and summer steelhead.

The Touchet River and its shoreline provide important habitat for Spring Chinook, Summer Steelhead and bull trout. It flows the cities of Prescott and Waitsburg and the county.

Approximately 157 acres of Touchet River shoreline lie within Waitsburg requiring extensive floodplain and floodway management. Levees along the majority of the river are used as a public trail and helped prevent major damage in the historic floods in 1964 and 1996  

Ecology will compare the Walla Walla Coalition’s 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 Coalition 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: August 29, 2016
Closes: September 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm

All interested parties are invited to provide comment 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:

Jeremy Sikes
Washington Department of Ecology
Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program
Eastern Regional Office
4601 N Monroe Spokane, Washington 99205
Phone: 509-329-3456

Comments must be received no later than September 27, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Documents for public review and comment

Note: All documents are PDF

Paper copies are available at the following locations:

Washington Department of Ecology
Eastern Regional Office
4601 N Monroe
Spokane, Washington 99205
Staff Contact: Jeremy Sikes
Phone: 509-329-3426

Walla Walla County Planning Department
310 West Poplar, Suite 200
Walla Walla, Washington 99362
Staff contact: Lauren Prentice
Phone: 509-524-2610

City of Walla Walla Planning Department
55 E. Moore Street
Walla Walla, Washington 99362
Staff contact: Elizabeth Chamberlin
Phone: 509-524-4710

City of Prescott City Hall
108 South D Street
Prescott, Washington 99348
Staff contact: Linda Vannoster
Phone: 509-849-2262

City of Waitsburg City Hall
147 Main Street
Waitsburg, Washington  99361
Staff contact: Randy Hinchliffe
Phone: 509-337-6371  

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 Coalition’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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