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Shoreline Master Programs

Archaeological and historic resources

People have lived along Washington’s shorelines for thousands of years and often left traces of their life behind.

Shoreline management act and shoreline master program guidelines

Archaeological, historic and cultural resources are often found within shoreline jurisdiction. The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires master programs to include, when appropriate, “an historic, cultural, scientific and educational element for the protection and restoration of buildings, sites, and areas having historic, cultural, scientific, or educational values” (RCW 90.58.100(2)(g)).

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Guidelines address archaeological and historic resources in the general master program provisions (WAC 173-26-221(1)) that apply to all shoreline areas. The provisions in the guidelines apply to “archaeological and historic resources that are either recorded at the state historic preservation office and/or by local jurisdictions or have been inadvertently uncovered.”

Shoreline master programs shall:

  • Include policies and regulations to protect archaeological, cultural and historic resources.
  • Require developers and property owners to immediately stop work if resources are uncovered during excavation.
  • Specify that permits issued in areas documented to contain archaeological resources require a site inspection or evaluation by a professional archaeologist.

Ecology worked with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to develop model language for archaeological, historic and cultural resources. The model language includes goals, policies and regulations. It includes requirements for a cultural resource site assessment for some permit applications and establishes a process for an inadvertent discovery of an archaeological, cultural or historic site.

Department of Natural Resources

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducts a cultural resources review for projects on state-owned aquatic lands. DNR has developed a summary paper on cultural resources that explains what cultural resources are, who is responsible for review and compliance and other items. DNR’s cultural resources archaeologist:

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is Washington’s state primary historic preservation agency. Stephanie Kramer gave a presentation to the Shoreline Planners Coordination meeting in Tukwila in October 2006 (scroll down to Fall 2006) that planners may find useful. Contact to request review of your shoreline program language.

For more information