Shoreline Management photo

Shoreline Management

Lake shorelines

The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) applies to lakes and reservoirs greater than 20 acres in area. The area used to make this determination is defined by a continuous ordinary high water mark and may include vegetated areas as well as open water areas.

Local shoreline jurisdiction applies to the area waterward of the ordinary high water mark out to the local government’s legal in-water jurisdictional boundary. Note that waterward shoreline jurisdiction of cities may be affected by RCW 35.21.160 and RCW 35A.21.090.

Lakes over 1,000 acres in area are classified as shorelines of statewide significance.

The official list of lakes that meet the 20-acre criterion is found in state rule at WAC 173-20.

For more information

Rule: WAC 173-20 - list of lakes that meet the 20-acre criterion