Proposed Abstract Title

Evaluation of Current Regulatory Gaps in the Protection of Nearshore Habitat and Shoreline Function from Armoring impacts in Washington State.

Presenter/Author Information

Amy Carey, Sound ActionFollow

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Protecting Natural Shoreline Functions with Existing Regulations and New Approaches

Location

2016SSEC

Description

In Washington State, the Hydraulic Code is one of the core intended mechanisms for protecting habitats critical to a healthy Salish Sea ecosystem. Under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), nearshore construction – including shoreline armoring – requires a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit. In both the evaluation of project impacts and the issuance of an HPA, DFW is mandated to ensure each proposal does not result in a net loss of habitat. Shoreline armoring regulations outlined in the hydraulic code include the authority to: protect forage fish spawning areas, examine the need for armoring, request an alternatives analysis, direct specific design elements or require adequate mitigation for adverse impacts.

However, there is concern that many of these habitat protective measures are overlooked during the permitting process with regulatory gaps likely resulting in impacts that may have been avoided, substantively minimized or mitigated had provisions and authorities been applied.

In 2013 Sound Action began reviewing every nearshore HPA issued for inland marine waters— more than 1200 to date—documenting when permits are issued without appropriate habitat protections. In 2014 the Washington State Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Program developed the Marine Shorelines Design Guidelines to provide a comprehensive framework for site assessment and alternatives analysis to determine the need for shore protection and identify the technique that best suits the conditions at a given site and in July of 2015, new Hydraulic Code rules went into effect clarifying the express authority of the department to require the needs and alternatives analysis and design directives outlined in the Guidelines. During an oral session, Sound Action will report on our findings from the evaluation of shoreline armoring permits reviewed to date with a special emphasis on those issued after improved code rules went into effect in 2015 and what changes are needed to ensure habitat protection.

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Evaluation of Current Regulatory Gaps in the Protection of Nearshore Habitat and Shoreline Function from Armoring impacts in Washington State.

2016SSEC

In Washington State, the Hydraulic Code is one of the core intended mechanisms for protecting habitats critical to a healthy Salish Sea ecosystem. Under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), nearshore construction – including shoreline armoring – requires a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit. In both the evaluation of project impacts and the issuance of an HPA, DFW is mandated to ensure each proposal does not result in a net loss of habitat. Shoreline armoring regulations outlined in the hydraulic code include the authority to: protect forage fish spawning areas, examine the need for armoring, request an alternatives analysis, direct specific design elements or require adequate mitigation for adverse impacts.

However, there is concern that many of these habitat protective measures are overlooked during the permitting process with regulatory gaps likely resulting in impacts that may have been avoided, substantively minimized or mitigated had provisions and authorities been applied.

In 2013 Sound Action began reviewing every nearshore HPA issued for inland marine waters— more than 1200 to date—documenting when permits are issued without appropriate habitat protections. In 2014 the Washington State Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Program developed the Marine Shorelines Design Guidelines to provide a comprehensive framework for site assessment and alternatives analysis to determine the need for shore protection and identify the technique that best suits the conditions at a given site and in July of 2015, new Hydraulic Code rules went into effect clarifying the express authority of the department to require the needs and alternatives analysis and design directives outlined in the Guidelines. During an oral session, Sound Action will report on our findings from the evaluation of shoreline armoring permits reviewed to date with a special emphasis on those issued after improved code rules went into effect in 2015 and what changes are needed to ensure habitat protection.