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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Community Planning and Economic Development

  • NEXT ACTION: The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) adopted the Draft SMP Update on December 12 during their regular meeting. It will now be submitted to the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) for review, and an additional public comment period. After DOE approval, the county will formally adopt the SMP Update into code. For more information, contact

If you own waterfront property in unincorporated Thurston County, the Current SMP (Shoreline Master Program), adopted in 1990 spells out building and development rules, allowable land uses and zoning. An SMP Code Update Project is now underway. Find more information below.

The Board of County Commissioners adopted the Draft SMP on December 12, 2023. A clean and a strike-through version showing edits are immediately below. 

Video & Documents from the Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing

Public Comments

  • To view public comments on the SMP Update project, please go to the Public Participation section below.
  • Learn more about the SMP update in the SMP Update story map
  • See the options for Public Participation in the Public Participation section below.
  • View fact sheets, maps and other documents related to the SMP Update, in the Documents section below.
  • Why the county is updating its SMP: Washington's Department of Ecology requires counties to update their shoreline building and development regulations from time to time. A county SMP update project is nearing completion. Review the SMP documents to learn more about it, or visit the Public Participation page to submit a comment, read comments submitted by other or subscribe to our email list for update

The current shoreline rules adopted in 1990 and used as the current shoreline development policies for unincorporated Thurston County. The Current SMP applies to marine shorelines (Puget Sound), rivers with a flow greater than 20 cubic feet per second, lakes larger than 20 acres, upland areas within 200 feet of these water bodies, and the floodplains and wetlands associated with these shorelines.

Q4 2023 BoCC briefing on December 4  December 4 Briefing Video on YouTube
Q4 2023 BoCC briefing on November 20  November 20 Briefing Video on YouTube
November 20 Briefing Document
Q4 2023 BoCC briefing on October 30  October 30 Briefing Video on YouTube & 
October 30 Briefing Document
Q4 2023 BoCC briefing on October 16  October 16 Briefing Video on YouTube & 
October 16 Briefing Document 
Q3 2023 BoCC briefing on September 25  September 25 Briefing Video on YouTube & 
September 25 Briefing Document
Q3 2023 BoCC Work Session on August 30, 2023 August 30 BoCC Briefing Video on YouTube & August 30 Briefing Document
Q3 2023 Board of County Commissioner (BoCC) Briefing on June 14 June 14 BoCC Briefing Video on YouTube & June 14 Briefing Document
Q2 2023 

BoCC Briefing on May 24


BoCC Public Hearing on May 16, 2023 

May 24,  BoCC Briefing Video on YouTube & May 24 Briefing Document

May 16, BoCC Public Hearing recording on YouTube
Q1 2023 BOCC work session on March 7, 2023 March 7 BoCC SMP Work Session video on YouTube
  BoCC work session on February 22, 2023. February 22 BoCC SMP Work Session video on YouTube
    February 22 Staff Report
Q3-Q4 2022  Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) begin review of the draft SMP. October 19, 2022 BoCC SMP Work Session video on YouTube
    October 19, 2022 Staff Report
Q4 2021 - Q3 2022 Citizen advisory group, the Planning Commission, work sessions to review the SMP and prepare their recommendation for the BoCC.  
Q3 2021 Planning Commission Public Hearing on October 20, 2021. October 20, 2021 Planning Commission Public Hearing video on YouTube
Q3-Q4 2021 Public Hearing draft published; outreach and virtual open house.  
2017-2021 Planning Commission review of draft SMP.  
2013 Shoreline Characterization & Inventory and Shoreline Environment Designations Report issued.  
2009 Update of 1990 SMP begins: research, data, analysis, initial public outreach.  


Start here! Whether you're new to the project or simply trying to make sense of the proposed changes, start with the story map. About a 10 minute read.

Fact Sheets

  1. Overview of Proposed Changes 
  2. Remodeling Expanding and Rebuilding 
  3. Shoreline Designations 
  4. What is an SMP 
  5. Aquaculture 
  6. Buffers and Setbacks  |  Proposed Buffers Chart 2022 
  7. Environmental Protection 
  8. CAO and SMP 
  9. Shoreline Permits 
  10. Additions to SMP Jurisdiction 
  11. Agriculture 


See where the current rules apply, where the proposed changes may take effect, and a side-by-side comparison of the two.

SMP Project Documents (in date order)

2013 and later 


Draft Documents for the Updated Shoreline Inventory & Characterizations Report

Draft Inventory & Characterization Report


Appendix A: Reach Analysis Matrix

Appendix B: Inventory 

Appendix C: GIS Data Sources

Appendix D: Acronyms 

Appendix E: Literature Cited in Chapter 3 and Appendix F 

Appendix F: Ecosystem-wide Processes Characterization Methods

Appendix G: Streams Not Meeting 20 cubic feet per second 


Map 1 Shorelines of the State and Shorelines of Statewide Significance 

Map 2 Shoreline Jurisdiction Changes 

Map 3 Proposed Shoreline Jurisdiction and Reach Breaks 

Map 4 Proposed Jurisdiction and Reach Breaks: Northeast Thurston County

Map 5 Proposed Jurisdiction and Reach Breaks: Northwest Thurston County 

Map 6 Proposed Jurisdiction and Reach Breaks: South-central Thurston County 

Map 7 Proposed Jurisdiction and Reach Breaks: Southwest Thurston County

Map 7a Proposed Jurisdiction and Reach Breaks: Southeast Thurston County

Map 8 Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs) 

Map 9 Watershed Basins 

Map 10 Topography and Hydrology 

Map 10a Shoreline Type 

Map 11 Geology – Bedrock Age 

Map 12 Geology – Lithology 

Map 13 Precipitation

Map 14 Coastal Processes Important Areas

Map 15 Coastal Processes Alterations

Map 16 Hydrology Important Areas 

Map 17 Hydrologic Processes Alterations 

Map 18 Sediment Processes Important Areas 

Map 19 Sediment Processes Alterations 

Map 20 Water Quality Processes Important Areas

Map 21 Water Quality Processes Alterations 

Map 22 Large Woody Debris Processes Important Areas

Map 23 Large Woody Debris Processes Alterations

Map 23b Local Habitat Assessment – 2008

Map 24 2012 Aerial Photos and Reaches

Map 25 2006 Land Cover 

Map 26 Impervious Land Cover

Map 27 Built Environment by Basin 2006 

Map 28 Forest over by Basin 2006 

Map 29 Critical Areas Biological

Map 30 Critical Areas Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas

Map 31 Critical Areas Hydrologic 

Map 32 Critical Areas Geologic

Map 33 Slope

Map 34 Biological Features

Map 34b Kelp and Eelgrass 

Map 34c Saltmarsh 

Map 35 Marine Fisheries 

Map 36 Commercial Shellfish Growing Areas

Map 37 Aquatic Land Ownership 

Map 38 Nationwide Permit 48 Parcels 

Map 39 Current Land Use - Thurston County Office of the Assessor 

Map 40 Current Land Use - Buildable Lands 2011

Map 41a Future Land Use - Buildable Lands 2011

Map 41b Rural County Zoning

Map 41c Future Development Potential 

Map 42 Registered Historic Districts and Properties 

Map 43 Public Access and Public Lands

Map 44 Existing Shoreline Environment Designations

Map 45 PSNERP Beach Management Recommendations

Map 46 PSNERP Coastal Inlet Management Recommendations 

Map 47 PSNERP Barrier Embayment Management Recommendations

Map 48 PSNERP River Delta Management Recommendations

Map 49 WRIA 11 Puget Sound Water Flow Management Recommendations 

Map 50 WRIA 13 Puget Sound Water Flow Management Recommendations

Map 51 WRIA 14 Puget Sound Water Flow Management Recommendations

Map 52 WRIA 23 Puget Sound Water Flow Management Recommendations

Map 53 Preliminary Shoreline Environment Designations 

Map 54 Preliminary Shoreline Environment Designations: Northeast 

Map 55 Preliminary Shoreline Environment Designations: Northwest 

Map 56 Preliminary Shoreline Environment Designations: South-central 

Map 57 Preliminary Shoreline Environment Designations: Southeast 

Map 58 Preliminary Shoreline Environment Designations: Southwest