WSR 15-19-002
[Order 15-06—Filed September 2, 2015, 1:30 p.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Ecology is beginning rule making to amend several of the rules related to implementation of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA), chapter 90.58 RCW, specifically:
Chapter 173-15 WAC, Permits for oil or natural gas exploration activities conducted from state marine waters.
Chapter 173-18 WAC, SMAStreams and rivers constituting shorelines of the state.
Chapter 173-20 WAC, SMALakes constituting shorelines of the state.
Chapter 173-22 WAC, Adoption of designations of shorelands and wetlands associated with shorelines of the state.
Chapter 173-26 WAC, State master program approval/amendment procedures and master program guidelines.
Chapter 173-27 WAC, Shoreline management permit and enforcement procedures.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 90.58.060 requires ecology to periodically review and update chapter 173-26 WAC. The last rule update was in 2011 and focused mostly on geoduck aquaculture. Other chapters are being included in the update to improve clarity and consistency across the rules.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Rule making is necessary to:
1. Clarify the process to comply with the periodic review requirement per RCW 90.58.080 as the first round of shoreline master program (SMP) reviews will be due to ecology June 2019;
2. Simplify the process for approving minor updates to SMPs;
3. Update the list of shorelines of the state to be consistent with the SMP updates;
4. Ensure consistency with amendments to statute since the last rule revision;
5. Capture any administrative updates since the last rule revision;
6. Consider clarifying the planning process for water-dependent uses including salmon net pens; and
7. Consider including a new section on planning for coastal hazards.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Local governments must follow the SMP guidelines (chapter 173-26 WAC) when drafting their local shoreline master programs. The guidelines translate the broad policies of the SMA (RCW 90.58.020) into standards for regulation of shoreline uses. We have already reached out to interested parties such as the Washington department of commerce (for Growth Management Act consistency), Washington State Association of Counties and Association of Washington Cities.
Process for Developing New Rule: We will use standard rule making. We will communicate with stakeholders through the agency e-mail lists (WAC track and program lists), a rule-making web page, e-mail, and regular mail. We intend to get feedback and early input from a local government sounding board. We will consult with interested tribes. We will release a preliminary draft rule for informal comment so we can get more input before we propose a formal draft rule (CR-102) for public comment. We will hold public hearings on the draft rule (CR-102) that are accessible to interested parties throughout the state.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Michelle Wilcox, Rule Coordinator, SEA Program, Washington State Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-7676, e-mail Visit the SEA program rule web page at Join the listserv at Learn more about SMP at
September 1, 2015
Gordon White
Shorelands and Environmental
Assistance Program Manager