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Shoreline Master Programs

Task 1.1: Identify preliminary shoreline jurisdiction

See SMP Handbook: Chapter 5 for more guidance on identifying your shoreline jurisdiction.

Update water bodies subject to SMA jurisdiction

A goal of the comprehensive local SMP updates (required of over 260 local governments and due by 2014) is to ensure that all water bodies subject to Shoreline Management Act shoreline jurisdiction are covered by local SMPs. Some water bodies and shoreline areas that meet the thresholds for inclusion under the SMA may not be in older local SMP maps and legal descriptions. Changes in shoreline jurisdiction may have resulted from:

  • New information on water-body flow and size.

  • Naturally occurring and man-made alterations of the shoreline.

  • Annexations.

It is important to study the definition of SMA jurisdiction carefully, as local governments have options for establishing boundaries. This includes an option (authorized by the 2003 legislature) to include buffers necessary to protect critical areas that currently fall partly outside the SMA jurisdictional area. (RCW 90.58.030(2)(f)(ii))

Shoreline data

Ecology maintains spatial datasets for marine waters, rivers and streams, and lakes that are helpful in identifying water bodies and SMA jurisdiction.

Marine

Go to Ecology's GIS Data web page and scroll down the page to Marine Shorelines. This includes Washington's marine shorelines, including an attribute for "Shorelines of Statewide Significance" boundaries.

Streams and rivers

Go to Ecology's GIS Data web page and scroll down to the following files:

  • Shoreline Management Act - Streams and Rivers - Points: Includes points where shoreline jurisdiction begins on streams and rivers, where "shorelines of statewide significance" begins, and where streams and river cross state and county boundaries, as published in WAC 173-18.

  • Shoreline Management Act - Streams and Rivers - Arcs: Includes arcs of streams under SMA jurisdiction as published in WAC 173-18.

  • Shoreline Management Act - Adopted Arcs: Includes streams and rivers designated "shorelines of the state" under the SMA, RCW 90.58.030, and adopted by local governments in their comprehensively updated shoreline master program.

  • Suggested Shoreline Points: Includes points on streams and rivers likely to qualify as "shorelines" and "shorelines of statewide significance" as defined in the SMA. Specifically intended for local governments that are comprehensively updating their shoreline master programs.

  • Suggested Shorelines Arcs: Includes stream and river arcs likely to qualify as "shorelines of the state" as defined in the SMA. Specifically intended for local governments that are comprehensively updating their shoreline master programs.

    The suggested shoreline points and arcs for rivers and streams are based on the three USGS studies. Ecology compiled a statewide SMA streams list from the studies as a simple EXCEL spreadsheet. The spreadsheet and the three regional stream flow studies may be downloaded on the streams and rivers web page.

Lakes

Go to Ecology's GIS Data web page and scroll down to the following files:

  • Shoreline Management Act - Lakes & Wetlands - Polygons: Includes Shorelines of the State as published in WAC 173-20.

  • Shoreline Management Act - Adopted Polygons: Includes water bodies designated Shorelines of the State under SMA and adopted by local governments in their comprehensively updated SMPs.

  • Suggested Shorelines Polygons: Includes water body polygons (lakes, etc.) likely to qualify as "shorelines of the state" as defined in the SMA. Specifically intended for local governments that are comprehensively updating their shoreline master programs.

Update maps

Local governments should include a broad introduction to the area, then provide an overall vicinity map and a brief narrative that introduces the reader to where the town, city or county is in Washington, the regional setting, whether there are marine, river or lake shorelines, and the general geography. This information can be obtained from the introductory sections of existing assessment reports and studies.

City vicinity maps should show city and urban growth area boundaries, topography, and SMA shorelines. Consider using a 10-meter DEM as a background image. Include an inset map that shows the location of the city in the state, within the county and relative to nearby cities. (City of Moses Lake example.)

County vicinity maps should show WRIA boundaries, topography, city borders, and SMA shorelines. Consider using a 30-meter DEM as a background image. Include an inset map showing the location of the county in the state. (Yakima County example, Whatcom County example

TIP: Always include appropriate disclaimers on maps depicting shoreline jurisdiction. For example, "Shoreline jurisdiction boundaries depicted on this map are approximate. They have not been formally delineated or surveyed and are intended for planning purposes only. Additional site-specific evaluation may be needed to confirm/verify information shown on this map.

 

The state approved SMP becomes the official delineation of SMA jurisdiction

When a comprehensive SMP update is approved by Ecology, it becomes the official delineation of SMA water bodies for that town, city or county (WAC 173-18-044). The maps and legal descriptions in the approved SMP will replace the lists of water bodies contained in WAC 173-18 (rivers and streams), WAC 173-20 (lakes) and WAC 173-22 (shorelands and wetlands).

For more information

Law: RCW 90.58.030(2) (Definitions)

Rules:

 

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