Origin of the Shoreline Code Update
Under Washington State's "Shoreline Management Act of 1971," local governments that plan under the Growth Management Act must develop a "Shoreline Master Program."

In 2003 the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted new Shoreline Guidelines (WAC 173-26) requiring local governments to update their Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs) to include policies and regulations that will ensure no net loss of shoreline ecological functions. To demonstrate that the SMP meets this performance standard, the local government is required to characterize their shoreline through a detailed inventory and analysis of shoreline functions and adjacent land use conditions. The analysis steps must be documented and submitted to the Department of Ecology (DOE) with the updated SMP for DOE's final review and approval. The findings from this analysis are used to create an informed shoreline zoning overlay, and to determine allowable uses and development regulations within shoreline jurisdiction.

Thurston County applied for grant funding to undertake the SMP work and was awarded a three year grant  (July 2007-July 2010), which was extended until September 2010. Thurston County's grant funding has now been expended, and the county is continuing to work on the Shoreline Master Program update using its own funds. The cities of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey also applied for and received funding to update their individual city SMPs. The county and cities are exchanging information throughout the development process. The effort will produce individual Shoreline Master Programs, tailored to the needs of each jurisdiction.

Thurston County contracted with two independent consultants:

Grette Associates assisted with the inventory and analysis.
Creative Community Solutions assisted with the public outreach and participation plan.

Find more information about shoreline management on Washington's Department of Ecology Shoreline Master Program Guidelines web page.