Shoreline Management Act Permits.
The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) of 1971 requires that most developments near state shorelines be consistent with shoreline master programs, which are plans developed by local governments for the uses of their shoreline areas. Certain projects require a substantial development permit that is reviewed by the local government and filed with the Department of Ecology. Projects that require a substantial development permit include developments exceeding a cost of $8,504 as adjusted for inflation by the Office of Financial Management in July 2022, or any development that materially interferes with the normal public use of the water or shorelines of the state. In certain property-specific circumstances, variance permits or conditional use permits may be issued by a local government that allow for development that is not consistent with the local shoreline master program.
Certain projects and activities, such as maintenance, repair, or replacement activities within the roadway prism of state highways, or the lease or ownership area of state ferry terminals and transit facilities, are exempted from requirements to obtain a substantial development permit, conditional use permit, variance, letter of exemption, or other local government review conducted to implement the SMA.
The following activities undertaken by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, a federally recognized Indian tribe, or a public utility district to maintain the operation of fish hatcheries, including water intakes and discharges, fish ladders, water and power conveyances, weirs, and racks and traps used for fish collection, do not require a substantial development permit, conditional use permit, variance, letter of exemption, or other review conducted by a local government pursuant to the Shoreline Management Act (SMA):
The proponent of a fish hatchery maintenance project must ensure compliance with the substantive requirements of the SMA for fish hatchery maintenance projects described above. Fish hatchery maintenance projects must not adversely affect public access or shoreline ecological functions.
Prior to beginning a maintenance or repair project, the proponent of the project must provide written notification of projects authorized under the act to the local government with jurisdiction and to the Department of Ecology.
The version of the bill adopted by the Senate adds municipal utilities to the list of entities whose specified fish hatchery maintenance projects are exempt from local government review under the Shoreline Management Act.
(In support) One federally recognized Indian tribe operates over a dozen hatcheries and related facilities that deal with multiple salmon species. Maintenance activities related to acclimation ponds should be included in the bill.
This is essentially a clarification bill. Certain maintenance and repair activities are already exempt from permitting under the Shoreline Management Act, but there is a bit of a gray area for certain activities related to hatchery maintenance.