365-190-120  <<  365-190-130 >>   End of Chapter

WAC 365-190-130

Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.

(1) "Fish and wildlife habitat conservation" means land management for maintaining populations of species in suitable habitats within their natural geographic distribution so that the habitat available is sufficient to support viable populations over the long term and isolated subpopulations are not created. This does not mean maintaining all individuals of all species at all times, but it does mean not degrading or reducing populations or habitats so that they are no longer viable over the long term. Counties and cities should engage in cooperative planning and coordination to help assure long term population viability.
Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas contribute to the state's biodiversity and occur on both publicly and privately owned lands. Designating these areas is an important part of land use planning for appropriate development densities, urban growth area boundaries, open space corridors, and incentive-based land conservation and stewardship programs.
(2) Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas that must be considered for classification and designation include:
(a) Areas where endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association;
(b) Habitats and species of local importance, as determined locally;
(c) Commercial and recreational shellfish areas;
(d) Kelp and eelgrass beds; herring, smelt, and other forage fish spawning areas;
(e) Naturally occurring ponds under twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat;
(f) Waters of the state;
(g) Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers planted with game fish by a governmental or tribal entity; and
(h) State natural area preserves, natural resource conservation areas, and state wildlife areas.
(3) When classifying and designating these areas, counties and cities must include the best available science, as described in chapter 365-195 WAC.
(a) Counties and cities should consider the following:
(i) Creating a system of fish and wildlife habitat with connections between larger habitat blocks and open spaces, integrating with open space corridor planning where appropriate;
(ii) Level of human activity in such areas including presence of roads and level of recreation type (passive or active recreation may be appropriate for certain areas and habitats);
(iii) Protecting riparian ecosystems including salmonid habitat, which also includes marine nearshore areas;
(iv) Evaluating land uses surrounding ponds and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas that may negatively impact these areas, or conversely, that may contribute positively to their function;
(v) Establishing buffer zones around these areas to separate incompatible uses from habitat areas;
(b) Counties and cities may also consider the following:
(i) Potential for restoring lost and impaired salmonid habitat;
(ii) Potential for designating areas important for local and ecoregional biodiversity; and
(iii) Establishing or enhancing nonregulatory approaches in addition to regulatory methods to protect fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.
(4) Sources and methods.
(a) Endangered, threatened and sensitive species. Counties and cities should identify and classify seasonal ranges and habitat elements where federal and state listed endangered, threatened and sensitive species have a primary association and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will persist over the long term. Counties and cities should consult current information on priority habitats and species identified by the Washington state department of fish and wildlife. Recovery plans and management recommendations for many of these species are available from the Unites States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Washington state department of fish and wildlife. Additional information is also available from the Washington state department of natural resources, natural heritage program, and aquatic resources program.
(b) Habitats and species areas of local importance. Counties and cities should identify, classify and designate locally important habitats and species. Counties and cities should consult current information on priority habitats and species identified by the Washington state department of fish and wildlife. Priority habitat and species information includes endangered, threatened and sensitive species, but also includes candidate species and other vulnerable and unique species and habitats. While these priorities are those of the Washington state department of fish and wildlife, they should be considered by counties and cities as they include the best available science. The Washington state department of fish and wildlife can also provide assistance with identifying and mapping important habitat areas at various landscape scales. Similarly, the Washington state department of natural resources' natural heritage program can provide a list of high quality ecological communities and systems and rare plants.
(c) Shellfish areas. All public and private tidelands or bedlands suitable for shellfish harvest shall be classified as critical areas. Counties and cities should consider both commercial and recreational shellfish areas. Counties and cities should consider the Washington state department of health classification of commercial and recreational shellfish growing areas to determine the existing condition of these areas. Further consideration should be given to the vulnerability of these areas to contamination. Shellfish protection districts established pursuant to chapter 90.72 RCW shall be included in the classification of critical shellfish areas.
(d) Kelp and eelgrass beds; herring, smelt and other forage fish spawning areas. Counties and cities must classify kelp and eelgrass beds, identified by the Washington state department of natural resources and the department of ecology. Though not an inclusive inventory, locations of kelp and eelgrass beds are compiled in the Washington coastal atlas published by the department of ecology. Herring, smelt and other forage fish spawning times and locations are outlined in WAC 220-110-240 through 220-110-271.
(e) Naturally occurring ponds under twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat. Naturally occurring ponds do not include ponds deliberately designed and created from dry sites, such as canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farmponds, temporary construction ponds (of less than three years duration) and landscape amenities. However, naturally occurring ponds may include those artificial ponds intentionally created from dry areas in order to mitigate conversion of ponds, if permitted by a regulatory authority.
(f) Waters of the state.
(i) Waters of the state are defined in RCW 90.48.020 and include lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, inland waters, underground waters, salt waters, and all other surface waters and water courses in Washington. Stream types are classified in Title 222 WAC, the forest practices regulations. Counties and cities may use the classification system established in WAC 222-16-030 to classify waters of the state. Counties and cities using the water types defined in WAC 222-16-030 or 222-16-031 (interim) should not rely solely on Washington state department of natural resources maps of these stream types for purposes of regulating land uses or establishing stream buffers.
(ii) Counties and cities that use the stream typing system developed by the department of natural resources should develop a process to verify actual stream conditions, identify flow alterations, and locate fish passage barriers by conducting a field visit. Field verification of all intermittent or nonfish bearing streams should occur during the wet season months of October to March or as determined locally.
(iii) Counties and cities may consider the following factors when classifying waters of the state as fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas:
(A) Species present which are endangered, threatened or sensitive, and other species of concern;
(B) Species present which are sensitive to habitat manipulation (e.g., priority habitats and species program);
(C) Historic presence of species of local importance;
(D) Existing surrounding land uses that are incompatible with salmonid habitat;
(E) Presence and size of riparian ecosystems;
(F) Existing water rights; and
(G) The intermittent nature of some waters of the state.
(g) Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers planted with game fish. This includes game fish planted in these water bodies under the auspices of a federal, state, local, or tribal program or which supports priority fish species as identified by the Washington state department of fish and wildlife.
(h) State natural area preserves, natural resource conservation areas, and state wildlife areas. Natural area preserves and natural resource conservation areas are defined, established, and managed by the department of natural resources. State wildlife areas are defined, established, and managed by the Washington state department of fish and wildlife, which provides information about state wildlife areas for each county.
(i) Salmonid habitat. Counties and cities should consider recommendations found in salmon recovery plans (see the governor's salmon recovery office). Counties and cities may use information prepared by the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, the Washington state department of fish and wildlife, the state recreation and conservation office, and the Puget Sound partnership to designate, protect and restore salmonid habitat.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. WSR 10-03-085, ยง 365-190-130, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
Site Contents
Selected content listed in alphabetical order under each group