The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved the town of Concrete’s updated shoreline master program.
The town’s shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the protection, use, development and restoration of the shorelines, and the water quality of roughly a mile-and-a-half of the Baker and Skagit rivers and Lake Shannon.
The updated master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.
“Concrete’s shoreline master program will help statewide efforts to protect the economic and environmental health of our waterways,” said Erik Stockdale, Ecology’s regional shorelines program supervisor. “We appreciate their work to involve many interested parties in protecting our treasured shoreline resources today and for many years to come.”
Shoreline master programs are cornerstones of the state’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act. The law requires cities and counties with regulated shorelines to develop and periodically update their locally tailored programs. Local programs 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.
Concrete began its shoreline master program process with a thorough inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions, assisted by a consulting firm hired with funds from an Ecology grant.
“I would like to thank the Washington State Department of Ecology, Town of Concrete Planning Commission, Concrete Town Council, staff, Graham-Bunting Associates, as well as the residents and property owners of the town for working together to complete the Town of Concrete Shorelines Master Program update. It was definitely a collaborative effort,” said Concrete Mayor Judd Wilson.
Concrete’s shoreline master program:
– Integrates shoreline regulations with the town’s growth management planning and zoning, floodplain management and critical areas ordinances as part of a unified development code;
– Establishes protective buffers with the flexibility to reduce them based on individual property circumstances;
– Encourages soft-bank erosion control methods and limits construction of new shoreline armoring;
– Includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment;
– Helps support the broader initiative to protect and restore Puget Sound.
Under state law, the local shoreline plan must be approved by Ecology before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program. The department will help defend the town’s shoreline program against legal challenges.
Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update or develop their programs by December 2014.
Press Release, October 14, 2013