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Shoreline Master Programs photo

Shoreline Master Programs

Task 3.1 Conduct community visioning process

Shorelines are among the most valuable and fragile of Washington’s natural resources. The challenge is that our use of shorelines for food, recreation, transportation, etc. also can destroy the very thing (natural beauty, clean water, fish and wildlife) that first drew us to these unique areas. If future generations are going to be able to use and enjoy shorelines as we do, everyone needs to be involved in creating a vision for how Washington’s shorelines are managed, preserved, and restored.

The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) and Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Guidelines do not mandate a community visioning process to aid in the development of a shoreline management strategy. However, the Guidelines do require public participation throughout the SMP update process, and local governments that receive state grants to comprehensively update their SMPs are required to conduct a community visioning or similar process.

A community visioning process can be simple or complex. The public participation techniques discussed in SMP Handbook: Chapter 6 are just a few ways in which Washington jurisdictions have involved citizens in shoreline planning since the SMA’s passage. And visioning is just one way in which a town, city, or county can implement the Guidelines’ public participation requirements. A community visioning process, regardless of the form it takes, provides:

  • An opportunity for a local government to explain the SMP update process and encourage citizen participation.
  • A forum for public review of, and education about, the shoreline inventory and characterization.
  • A forum for local governments to gain first-hand information about shorelines from those who live, recreate or work within shoreline jurisdiction.

Community Visioning Report

After the community visioning activities are complete, local government should prepare a community visioning report. This report should include, at a minimum:

  • List of the community visioning activities. Include a short description of each activity, the location, how participants engaged in each activity, and stakeholder groups represented. Include the agenda and copies of handouts, presentations and other materials.
  • Summary of the feedback received from participants. Include copies of blank versions of surveys and questionnaires and other materials used to gain feedback. If the number of comments or returned surveys is small, the report may include all comments and survey results. However, that’s not necessary when including all the responses would make the report unwieldy.
  • Goals for shoreline management based on the public input. Goals should be within the parameters of the SMA and the SMP Guidelines. For example, participants may want to see more public access, certain areas designated for water-dependent industry, and shoreline restoration in other areas.

Examples of community visions and shoreline management strategies

City of Kirkland

The City of Kirkland’s visioning process consisted of two, two-day workshops. During the first day’s forum, the City’s staff explained inventory and characterization findings and the SMP update process and solicited input from attending citizens. The second day of each workshop was devoted to site visits to illustrate particular shoreline features or issues.

Douglas County and the Cities of East Wenatchee, Rock Island and Bridgeport

These partners held four open houses (from 4 to 6 pm) and two workshops (6:30 to 8:30 PM) all in different locations around the County. In addition, they conducted two “Listening Posts” at a regional mall where people were invited to look at a shoreline map and photograph display, pick up informational handouts and talk with county and city staff. Participants in these events provided input on their long-term vision for the County’s shorelines with respect to public access; recreation choices; conservation opportunities; land development; growth; residential, commercial and industrial uses; agriculture; special shoreline qualities; views; and effective planning, regulations and enforcement.

Citizen's Vision for Douglas County Shorelines 2006-2016, Spring 2006

Other examples

For more information

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