90.58.020  <<  90.58.030 >>   90.58.040

RCW 90.58.030

Definitions and concepts.

     *** CHANGE IN 2014 *** (SEE 1090-S.SL) ***

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions and concepts apply:

     (1) Administration:

     (a) "Department" means the department of ecology;

     (b) "Director" means the director of the department of ecology;

     (c) "Hearings board" means the shorelines hearings board established by this chapter;

     (d) "Local government" means any county, incorporated city, or town which contains within its boundaries any lands or waters subject to this chapter;

     (e) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, organization, cooperative, public or municipal corporation, or agency of the state or local governmental unit however designated.

     (2) Geographical:

     (a) "Extreme low tide" means the lowest line on the land reached by a receding tide;

     (b) "Floodway" means the area, as identified in a master program, that either: (i) Has been established in federal emergency management agency flood insurance rate maps or floodway maps; or (ii) consists of those portions of a river valley lying streamward from the outer limits of a watercourse upon which flood waters are carried during periods of flooding that occur with reasonable regularity, although not necessarily annually, said floodway being identified, under normal condition, by changes in surface soil conditions or changes in types or quality of vegetative ground cover condition, topography, or other indicators of flooding that occurs with reasonable regularity, although not necessarily annually. Regardless of the method used to identify the floodway, the floodway shall not include those lands that can reasonably be expected to be protected from flood waters by flood control devices maintained by or maintained under license from the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state;

     (c) "Ordinary high water mark" on all lakes, streams, and tidal water is that mark that will be found by examining the bed and banks and ascertaining where the presence and action of waters are so common and usual, and so long continued in all ordinary years, as to mark upon the soil a character distinct from that of the abutting upland, in respect to vegetation as that condition exists on June 1, 1971, as it may naturally change thereafter, or as it may change thereafter in accordance with permits issued by a local government or the department: PROVIDED, That in any area where the ordinary high water mark cannot be found, the ordinary high water mark adjoining salt water shall be the line of mean higher high tide and the ordinary high water mark adjoining freshwater shall be the line of mean high water;

     (d) "Shorelands" or "shoreland areas" means those lands extending landward for two hundred feet in all directions as measured on a horizontal plane from the ordinary high water mark; floodways and contiguous floodplain areas landward two hundred feet from such floodways; and all wetlands and river deltas associated with the streams, lakes, and tidal waters which are subject to the provisions of this chapter; the same to be designated as to location by the department of ecology.

     (i) Any county or city may determine that portion of a one-hundred-year-flood plain to be included in its master program as long as such portion includes, as a minimum, the floodway and the adjacent land extending landward two hundred feet therefrom.

     (ii) Any city or county may also include in its master program land necessary for buffers for critical areas, as defined in chapter 36.70A RCW, that occur within shorelines of the state, provided that forest practices regulated under chapter 76.09 RCW, except conversions to nonforest land use, on lands subject to the provisions of this subsection (2)(d)(ii) are not subject to additional regulations under this chapter;

     (e) "Shorelines" means all of the water areas of the state, including reservoirs, and their associated shorelands, together with the lands underlying them; except (i) shorelines of statewide significance; (ii) shorelines on segments of streams upstream of a point where the mean annual flow is twenty cubic feet per second or less and the wetlands associated with such upstream segments; and (iii) shorelines on lakes less than twenty acres in size and wetlands associated with such small lakes;

     (f) "Shorelines of statewide significance" means the following shorelines of the state:

     (i) The area between the ordinary high water mark and the western boundary of the state from Cape Disappointment on the south to Cape Flattery on the north, including harbors, bays, estuaries, and inlets;

     (ii) Those areas of Puget Sound and adjacent salt waters and the Strait of Juan de Fuca between the ordinary high water mark and the line of extreme low tide as follows:

     (A) Nisqually Delta -- from DeWolf Bight to Tatsolo Point,

     (B) Birch Bay -- from Point Whitehorn to Birch Point,

     (C) Hood Canal -- from Tala Point to Foulweather Bluff,

     (D) Skagit Bay and adjacent area -- from Brown Point to Yokeko Point, and

     (E) Padilla Bay -- from March Point to William Point;

     (iii) Those areas of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and adjacent salt waters north to the Canadian line and lying seaward from the line of extreme low tide;

     (iv) Those lakes, whether natural, artificial, or a combination thereof, with a surface acreage of one thousand acres or more measured at the ordinary high water mark;

     (v) Those natural rivers or segments thereof as follows:

     (A) Any west of the crest of the Cascade range downstream of a point where the mean annual flow is measured at one thousand cubic feet per second or more,

     (B) Any east of the crest of the Cascade range downstream of a point where the annual flow is measured at two hundred cubic feet per second or more, or those portions of rivers east of the crest of the Cascade range downstream from the first three hundred square miles of drainage area, whichever is longer;

     (vi) Those shorelands associated with [(f)](i), (ii), (iv), and (v) of this subsection (2)(f);

     (g) "Shorelines of the state" are the total of all "shorelines" and "shorelines of statewide significance" within the state;

     (h) "Wetlands" means areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway. Wetlands may include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland areas to mitigate the conversion of wetlands.

     (3) Procedural terms:

     (a) "Development" means a use consisting of the construction or exterior alteration of structures; dredging; drilling; dumping; filling; removal of any sand, gravel, or minerals; bulkheading; driving of piling; placing of obstructions; or any project of a permanent or temporary nature which interferes with the normal public use of the surface of the waters overlying lands subject to this chapter at any state of water level;

     (b) "Guidelines" means those standards adopted to implement the policy of this chapter for regulation of use of the shorelines of the state prior to adoption of master programs. Such standards shall also provide criteria to local governments and the department in developing master programs;

     (c) "Master program" shall mean the comprehensive use plan for a described area, and the use regulations together with maps, diagrams, charts, or other descriptive material and text, a statement of desired goals, and standards developed in accordance with the policies enunciated in RCW 90.58.020. "Comprehensive master program update" means a master program that fully achieves the procedural and substantive requirements of the department guidelines effective January 17, 2004, as now or hereafter amended;

     (d) "State master program" is the cumulative total of all master programs approved or adopted by the department of ecology;

     (e) "Substantial development" shall mean any development of which the total cost or fair market value exceeds five thousand dollars, or any development which materially interferes with the normal public use of the water or shorelines of the state. The dollar threshold established in this subsection (3)(e) must be adjusted for inflation by the office of financial management every five years, beginning July 1, 2007, based upon changes in the consumer price index during that time period. "Consumer price index" means, for any calendar year, that year's annual average consumer price index, Seattle, Washington area, for urban wage earners and clerical workers, all items, compiled by the bureau of labor and statistics, United States department of labor. The office of financial management must calculate the new dollar threshold and transmit it to the office of the code reviser for publication in the Washington State Register at least one month before the new dollar threshold is to take effect. The following shall not be considered substantial developments for the purpose of this chapter:

     (i) Normal maintenance or repair of existing structures or developments, including damage by accident, fire, or elements;

     (ii) Construction of the normal protective bulkhead common to single-family residences;

     (iii) Emergency construction necessary to protect property from damage by the elements;

     (iv) Construction and practices normal or necessary for farming, irrigation, and ranching activities, including agricultural service roads and utilities on shorelands, and the construction and maintenance of irrigation structures including but not limited to head gates, pumping facilities, and irrigation channels. A feedlot of any size, all processing plants, other activities of a commercial nature, alteration of the contour of the shorelands by leveling or filling other than that which results from normal cultivation, shall not be considered normal or necessary farming or ranching activities. A feedlot shall be an enclosure or facility used or capable of being used for feeding livestock hay, grain, silage, or other livestock feed, but shall not include land for growing crops or vegetation for livestock feeding and/or grazing, nor shall it include normal livestock wintering operations;

     (v) Construction or modification of navigational aids such as channel markers and anchor buoys;

     (vi) Construction on shorelands by an owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of a single-family residence for his own use or for the use of his or her family, which residence does not exceed a height of thirty-five feet above average grade level and which meets all requirements of the state agency or local government having jurisdiction thereof, other than requirements imposed pursuant to this chapter;

     (vii) Construction of a dock, including a community dock, designed for pleasure craft only, for the private noncommercial use of the owner, lessee, or contract purchaser of single and multiple-family residences. This exception applies if either: (A) In salt waters, the fair market value of the dock does not exceed two thousand five hundred dollars; or (B) in freshwaters, the fair market value of the dock does not exceed ten thousand dollars, but if subsequent construction having a fair market value exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars occurs within five years of completion of the prior construction, the subsequent construction shall be considered a substantial development for the purpose of this chapter;

     (viii) Operation, maintenance, or construction of canals, waterways, drains, reservoirs, or other facilities that now exist or are hereafter created or developed as a part of an irrigation system for the primary purpose of making use of system waters, including return flow and artificially stored groundwater for the irrigation of lands;

     (ix) The marking of property lines or corners on state owned lands, when such marking does not significantly interfere with normal public use of the surface of the water;

     (x) Operation and maintenance of any system of dikes, ditches, drains, or other facilities existing on September 8, 1975, which were created, developed, or utilized primarily as a part of an agricultural drainage or diking system;

     (xi) Site exploration and investigation activities that are prerequisite to preparation of an application for development authorization under this chapter, if:

     (A) The activity does not interfere with the normal public use of the surface waters;

     (B) The activity will have no significant adverse impact on the environment including, but not limited to, fish, wildlife, fish or wildlife habitat, water quality, and aesthetic values;

     (C) The activity does not involve the installation of a structure, and upon completion of the activity the vegetation and land configuration of the site are restored to conditions existing before the activity;

     (D) A private entity seeking development authorization under this section first posts a performance bond or provides other evidence of financial responsibility to the local jurisdiction to ensure that the site is restored to preexisting conditions; and

     (E) The activity is not subject to the permit requirements of RCW 90.58.550;

     (xii) The process of removing or controlling an aquatic noxious weed, as defined in RCW 17.26.020, through the use of an herbicide or other treatment methods applicable to weed control that are recommended by a final environmental impact statement published by the department of agriculture or the department jointly with other state agencies under chapter 43.21C RCW.

[2010 c 107 § 3; 2007 c 328 § 1; 2003 c 321 § 2; 2002 c 230 § 2; 1996 c 265 § 1. Prior: 1995 c 382 § 10; 1995 c 255 § 5; 1995 c 237 § 1; 1987 c 474 § 1; 1986 c 292 § 1; 1982 1st ex.s. c 13 § 2; 1980 c 2 § 3; 1979 ex.s. c 84 § 3; 1975 1st ex.s. c 182 § 1; 1973 1st ex.s. c 203 § 1; 1971 ex.s. c 286 § 3.]


     Reviser's note: The definitions in this section have been alphabetized pursuant to RCW 1.08.015(2)(k).

     Intent -- Retroactive application -- Effective date -- 2010 c 107: See notes following RCW 36.70A.480.

     Finding -- Intent -- 2003 c 321: "(1) The legislature finds that the final decision and order in Everett Shorelines Coalition v. City of Everett and Washington State Department of Ecology, Case No. 02-3-0009c, issued on January 9, 2003, by the central Puget Sound growth management hearings board was a case of first impression interpreting the addition of the shoreline management act into the growth management act, and that the board considered the appeal and issued its final order and decision without the benefit of shorelines guidelines to provide guidance on the implementation of the shoreline management act and the adoption of shoreline master programs.

     (2) This act is intended to affirm the legislature's intent that:

     (a) The shoreline management act be read, interpreted, applied, and implemented as a whole consistent with decisions of the shoreline[s] hearings board and Washington courts prior to the decision of the central Puget Sound growth management hearings board in Everett Shorelines Coalition v. City of Everett and Washington State Department of Ecology;

     (b) The goals of the growth management act, including the goals and policies of the shoreline management act, set forth in RCW 36.70A.020 and included in RCW 36.70A.020 by RCW 36.70A.480, continue to be listed without an order of priority; and

     (c) Shorelines of statewide significance may include critical areas as defined by RCW 36.70A.030(5), but that shorelines of statewide significance are not critical areas simply because they are shorelines of statewide significance.

     (3) The legislature intends that critical areas within the jurisdiction of the shoreline management act shall be governed by the shoreline management act and that critical areas outside the jurisdiction of the shoreline management act shall be governed by the growth management act. The legislature further intends that the quality of information currently required by the shoreline management act to be applied to the protection of critical areas within shorelines of the state shall not be limited or changed by the provisions of the growth management act." [2003 c 321 § 1.]

     Finding -- Intent -- 2002 c 230: "The legislature finds that the dollar threshold for what constitutes substantial development under the shoreline management act has not been changed since 1986. The legislature recognizes that the effects of inflation have brought in many activities under the jurisdiction of chapter 90.58 RCW that would have been exempted under its original provisions. It is the intent of the legislature to modify the current dollar threshold for what constitutes substantial development under the shoreline management act, and to have this threshold readjusted on a five-year basis." [2002 c 230 § 1.]

     Severability -- Effective date -- 1995 c 255: See RCW 17.26.900 and 17.26.901.

     Severability -- 1986 c 292: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1986 c 292 § 5.]

     Intent -- 1980 c 2; 1979 ex.s. c 84: "The legislature finds that high tides and hurricane force winds on February 13, 1979, caused conditions resulting in the catastrophic destruction of the Hood Canal bridge on state route 104, a state highway on the federal-aid system; and, as a consequence, the state of Washington has sustained a sudden and complete failure of a major segment of highway system with a disastrous impact on transportation services between the counties of Washington's Olympic peninsula and the remainder of the state. The governor has by proclamation found that these conditions constitute an emergency. To minimize the economic loss and hardship to residents of the Puget Sound and Olympic peninsula regions, it is the intent of 1979 ex.s. c 84 to authorize the department of transportation to undertake immediately all necessary actions to restore interim transportation services across Hood Canal and Puget Sound and upon the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and to design and reconstruct a permanent bridge at the site of the original Hood Canal bridge. The department of transportation is directed to proceed with such actions in an environmentally responsible manner that would meet the substantive objectives of the state environmental policy act and the shorelines management act, and shall consult with the department of ecology in the planning process. The exemptions from the state environmental policy act and the shorelines management act contained in RCW 43.21C.032 and 90.58.030 are intended to approve and ratify the timely actions of the department of transportation taken and to be taken to restore interim transportation services and to reconstruct a permanent Hood Canal bridge without procedural delays." [1980 c 2 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 84 § 1.]