USA: Ecology Approves Battle Ground’s Shoreline Master Program
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved Battle Ground’s new shoreline master program.
Battle Ground’s shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the protection, use, development, restoration and water quality of 2.6 miles of shorelines along portions of Salmon and Morgan creeks.
Battle Ground is one of more than 60 local governments that have completed their updates. The new master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.
“Battle Ground’s shoreline master program helps protect the economic and environmental health of our waters. By working together, we are protecting our treasured shoreline resources for ourselves as well as our children and future generations. Our shorelines make Washington a great place to live,” said Paula Ehlers, Ecology’s regional shorelines program supervisor.
More than 200 cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs, under the state’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act.
Shoreline master programs are the cornerstone of the act. The law requires cities and counties with regulated shorelines to develop and periodically update their locally-tailored programs 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.
The city’s process brought diverse local interests to the table to work collaboratively. The shoreline master program process began with a thorough inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions completed with consultant support. Interest groups included waterfront property owners, scientists, non-profit organizations, business, and state and local resource agency staff.
“The City of Battle Ground is excited to have adopted its first-ever Shoreline Master Program. This was done collaboratively through a successful partnership between Clark County and all of the cities contained within. The City of Battle Ground is very appreciative of all of the assistance provided by our partners in this effort, and we are grateful for the skilled guidance given by the Department of Ecology,” said Robert Maul, Battle Ground’s Community Development Director.
Battle Ground’s shoreline master program:
-Becomes the city’s first, because recently annexed shoreline was previously managed under the Clark County shoreline program.
-Was developed as part of a coordinated effort with Clark County and six other cities.
-Integrates shoreline regulations with the city’s growth management planning and zoning, floodplain management and critical areas ordinances as part of a unified development code.
-Retains native vegetation along shorelines.
-Encourages erosion control methods that protect both property and habitat and also limits construction of new structures that harden shorelines, such as bulkheads.
Encourages restoration consistent with a county-wide restoration plan showing where voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment.
Under state law, the local shoreline must receive approval from Ecology before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program. The department will help defend the city’s shoreline program against legal challenges.
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 among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.
Press Release, December 19, 2012