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PDFWAC 173-26-251

Shorelines of statewide significance.

(1) Applicability. The following section applies to local governments preparing master programs that include shorelines of statewide significance as defined in RCW 90.58.030.
(2) Principles. Chapter 90.58 RCW raises the status of shorelines of statewide significance in two ways. First, the Shoreline Management Act sets specific preferences for uses of shorelines of statewide significance. RCW 90.58.020 states:
"The legislature declares that the interest of all of the people shall be paramount in the management of shorelines of statewide significance. The department, in adopting guidelines for shorelines of statewide significance, and local government, in developing master programs for shorelines of statewide significance, shall give preference to uses in the following order of preference which:
(1) Recognize and protect the statewide interest over local interest;
(2) Preserve the natural character of the shoreline;
(3) Result in long term over short term benefit;
(4) Protect the resources and ecology of the shoreline;
(5) Increase public access to publicly owned areas of the shorelines;
(6) Increase recreational opportunities for the public in the shoreline;
(7) Provide for any other element as defined in RCW 90.58.100 deemed appropriate or necessary."
Second, the Shoreline Management Act calls for a higher level of effort in implementing its objectives on shorelines of statewide significance. RCW 90.58.090(5) states:
"The department shall approve those segments of the master program relating to shorelines of statewide significance only after determining the program provides the optimum implementation of the policy of this chapter to satisfy the statewide interest."
Optimum implementation involves special emphasis on statewide objectives and consultation with state agencies. The state's interests may vary, depending upon the geographic region, type of shoreline, and local conditions. Optimum implementation may involve ensuring that other comprehensive planning policies and regulations support Shoreline Management Act objectives.
Because shoreline ecological resources are linked to other environments, implementation of ecological objectives requires effective management of whole ecosystems. Optimum implementation places a greater imperative on identifying, understanding, and managing ecosystem-wide processes and ecological functions that sustain resources of statewide importance.
(3) Master program provisions for shorelines of statewide significance. Because shorelines of statewide significance are major resources from which all people of the state derive benefit, local governments that are preparing master program provisions for shorelines of statewide significance shall implement the following:
(a) Statewide interest. To recognize and protect statewide interest over local interest, consult with applicable state agencies, affected Indian tribes, and statewide interest groups and consider their recommendations in preparing shoreline master program provisions. Recognize and take into account state agencies' policies, programs, and recommendations in developing use regulations. For example, if an anadromous fish species is affected, the Washington state departments of fish and wildlife and ecology and the governor's salmon recovery office, as well as affected Indian tribes, should, at a minimum, be consulted.
(b) Preserving resources for future generations. Prepare master program provisions on the basis of preserving the shorelines for future generations. For example, actions that would convert resources into irreversible uses or detrimentally alter natural conditions characteristic of shorelines of statewide significance should be severely limited. Where natural resources of statewide importance are being diminished over time, master programs shall include provisions to contribute to the restoration of those resources.
(c) Priority uses. Establish shoreline environment designation policies, boundaries, and use provisions that give preference to those uses described in RCW 90.58.020 (1) through (7). More specifically:
(i) Identify the extent and importance of ecological resources of statewide importance and potential impacts to those resources, both inside and outside the local government's geographic jurisdiction.
(ii) Preserve sufficient shorelands and submerged lands to accommodate current and projected demand for economic resources of statewide importance, such as commercial shellfish beds and navigable harbors. Base projections on statewide or regional analyses, requirements for essential public facilities, and comment from related industry associations, affected Indian tribes, and state agencies.
(iii) Base public access and recreation requirements on demand projections that take into account the activities of state agencies and the interests of the citizens of the state to visit public shorelines with special scenic qualities or cultural or recreational opportunities.
(d) Resources of statewide importance. Establish development standards that:
(i) Ensure the long-term protection of ecological resources of statewide importance, such as anadromous fish habitats, forage fish spawning and rearing areas, shellfish beds, and unique environments. Standards shall consider incremental and cumulative impacts of permitted development and include provisions to insure no net loss of shoreline ecosystems and ecosystem-wide processes.
(ii) Provide for the shoreline needs of water-oriented uses and other shoreline economic resources of statewide importance.
(iii) Provide for the right of the public to use, access, and enjoy public shoreline resources of statewide importance.
(e) Comprehensive plan consistency. Assure that other local comprehensive plan provisions are consistent with and support as a high priority the policies for shorelines of statewide significance. Specifically, shoreline master programs should include policies that incorporate the priorities and optimum implementation directives of chapter 90.58 RCW into comprehensive plan provisions and implementing development regulations.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 90.58.060 and 90.58.200. WSR 04-01-117 (Order 03-02), ยง 173-26-251, filed 12/17/03, effective 1/17/04.]
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