The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved Pend Oreille County’s comprehensive update of its shoreline master program.
The county’s locally tailored shoreline program is designed to protect private property rights, help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to access and enjoy public lands and waters.
The updated shoreline master program guides construction and development along more than 60 lakes, rivers, and streams, including the Pend Oreille River, Sullivan Creek and Sullivan, Diamond and Sacheen lakes.
Throughout the process, Ecology staff worked closely with local planning staff, their elected officials, and special interest groups.
“We are pleased to approve a shoreline program that not only meets the requirements of the law but also remains locally tailored to meet the needs of the county and public,” said Gordon White, Shoreline and Environmental Assessment program manager.
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the county,” said Jaime Short, Ecology shoreline planner. “We believe education and outreach that fosters a greater understanding and enhanced stewardship of our shoreline resources will be a key component to applying the shoreline program.”
Under state law, a local shoreline program must receive Ecology approval before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program, subject to a 60-day appeal period.
The department will help defend the county’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 11, 2013