Ecology Starts Review of Wilkeson’s Shoreline Program (USA)
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking public comment on Wilkeson’s recently updated shoreline master program.
The proposed updated shoreline master program will guide construction and development along the town’s1.5 miles of shoreline on Wilkeson Creek. It combines local plans for future development and preservation with new development ordinances and related permitting requirements.
Wilkeson’s locally-tailored shoreline program is designed to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to public lands and waters.
Under Washington’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve the town’s proposed shoreline program before it takes effect. About 200 cities and counties statewide are in the process of or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs.
Wilkeson’s proposed updated master program:
-Provides shoreline regulations that are integrated with the town’s growth management planning critical areas ordinances.
-Encourages soft-bank erosion control methods that protect both property and habitat and also limits construction of new structures that harden shorelines, such as bulkheads.
-Includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment.
-Establishes new environmental designations along the town’s shoreline reaches.
-Fosters diversifying the existing recreation opportunities along the creek.
-Gives priority to conservation and enhancement of native shoreline vegetation.
-Establishes procedures to preserve and protect historical and archaeological resources. Helps support the broader initiative to protect and restore Puget Sound.
All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003. The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement between 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.
Dredging Today Staff, December 4, 2012; Image: ecy