Shoreline Master Program 2021 Periodic Update

Shoreline Master Program Update
​Spokane County is undertaking a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP), as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA) (RCW 90.58).

​The Shoreline Management Act was created by citizen referendum in 1972, and includes the goals, policies, and regulations that govern land use and activities within unincorporated Spokane County.  The Shoreline Management Act requires each Shoreline Master Program be reviewed on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature (RCW 90.58.080).

​Spokane County has several natural lakes, fish and non-fish bearing streams, fringe wetlands, including Latah Creek, the Little Spokane River and the Spokane River.  These bodies of water serve many purposes beyond their ecological ones.  Together, they are resources for flood management, irrigation, hydropower, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation.  The shorelines include their associated wetlands and floodplains; and land within the 200-foot buffer zone of these water-bodies.  The last Shoreline Master Program update was completed in 2013.  The County is scheduled to complete this latest periodic review amendments by June 2021 with final approval by the Department of Ecology slated for July.
Shoreline Master Program Chart
Project Goals
Shoreline Master Programs are local land-use policies and regulations that guide the use of Washington shorelines to protect natural resources for future generations, provide for public access to public water and shores, and plan for water-dependent uses.  Washington Department of Ecology is required to maintain a checklist that includes review elements.  The Checklist helps counties, cities, and towns determine what to review and where each applicable issue is addressed in the Shoreline Master Program.
The purpose of Spokane County's Shoreline Master Program is to:
  • Provide for the management of the shorelines of the state by planning for and fostering all reasonable and appropriate uses of the shorelines.
  • Ensure the development of the shorelines in a manner which, while allowing for the limited reduction of the rights of the public in the navigable waters, will promote and enhance the public interest.
  • Provide protection against adverse effects to the shorelines of the state and their lands, vegetation and wildlife, and the waters of the State and their aquatic life, while protecting, generally, public rights of navigation and corollary rights incidental thereto.
  • Preserve, to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the overall best interest of the State and its people, the public's opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of the shorelines of the State.
  • Preserve, protect and enhance the ecological functions of the shoreline to assure maintenance of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Protect the public health, safety and welfare by preserving, protecting, restoring and managing shorelines through the regulation of development as specified in the goals and policies set forth in Section 2, and Section 5 of this Shoreline Master Program and by promoting restoration of degraded shorelines pursuant to Section 12 of the Shoreline Protection and Restoration Plan.
This periodic update will comply with the Department of Ecology periodic review procedures.  The periodic update will not re-evaluate the ecological baseline that was established as part of the last Shoreline Master Program update; change shoreline jurisdiction or environment designations; or result in changes to the comprehensive plan.

Public Participation Program
Early and continuous public participation is an important part of the review process.  A public participation plan has been developed to outline the steps that we will take to provide opportunities for engagement and public comment.  The plan is a working document and will be adjusted as needed to provide for the greatest and broadest public participation.

​                                                   Click here for a link to the 2021 timeline and Public Participation Plan

Final Approval

  • June/July - Planning Commission recommendation will be forwarded to Spokane County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) for final consideration.
  • July - Bocc final decision forwarded to WA State Dept of Ecology for final review/approval.

Washington Department of Ecology