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PDFWAC 365-195-920

Criteria for addressing inadequate scientific information.

Where there is an absence of valid scientific information or incomplete scientific information relating to a county's or city's critical areas, leading to uncertainty about which development and land uses could lead to harm of critical areas or uncertainty about the risk to critical area function of permitting development, counties and cities should use the following approach:
(1) A "precautionary or a no risk approach," in which development and land use activities are strictly limited until the uncertainty is sufficiently resolved; and
(2) As an interim approach, an effective adaptive management program that relies on scientific methods to evaluate how well regulatory and nonregulatory actions achieve their objectives. Management, policy, and regulatory actions are treated as experiments that are purposefully monitored and evaluated to determine whether they are effective and, if not, how they should be improved to increase their effectiveness. An adaptive management program is a formal and deliberate scientific approach to taking action and obtaining information in the face of uncertainty. To effectively implement an adaptive management program, counties and cities should be willing to:
(a) Address funding for the research component of the adaptive management program;
(b) Change course based on the results and interpretation of new information that resolves uncertainties; and
(c) Commit to the appropriate time frame and scale necessary to reliably evaluate regulatory and nonregulatory actions affecting critical areas protection and anadromous fisheries.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.190 (4)(b). WSR 00-16-064, ยง 365-195-920, filed 7/27/00, effective 8/27/00.]
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