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Shoreline Master Programs

Exemptions for agricultural activities

In addition to the general limitations on regulating agriculture [RCW 90.58.065], the SMA has several provisions addressing agricultural and irrigation activities in RCW 90.58.030(3)(e):

(iv) Construction and practices normal or necessary for farming, irrigation, and ranching activities, including agricultural service roads and utilities on shorelands, and the construction and maintenance of irrigation structures including but not limited to head gates, pumping facilities, and irrigation channels. [NOTE: Ecology rules clarify that construction of a barn or similar agricultural structure is also exempt under this section - see WAC 173-27-040(2)(e) ]

A feedlot of any size, all processing plants, other activities of a commercial nature, alteration of the contour of the shorelands by leveling or filling other than that which results from normal cultivation, shall not be considered normal or necessary farming or ranching activities. A feedlot shall be an enclosure or facility used or capable of being used for feeding livestock hay, grain, silage, or other livestock feed, but shall not include land for growing crops or vegetation for livestock feeding and/or grazing, nor shall it include normal livestock wintering operations.

(viii) Operation, maintenance, or construction of canals, waterways, drains, reservoirs, or other facilities that now exist or are hereafter created or developed as a part of an irrigation system for the primary purpose of making use of system waters, including return flow and artificially stored ground water for the irrigation of lands...

(x) Operation and maintenance of any system of dikes, ditches, drains, or other facilities existing on September 8, 1975, which were created, developed, or utilized primarily as a part of an agricultural drainage or diking system.

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