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Thurston County, Washington

Getting a building permit will be simpler for applicants with gophers or other HCP species with the new HCP ordinance. Projects that impact gophers or other HCP habitat will go through the HCP Permit Process and mitigation fees will apply.  You can check the HCP section of the Permitting Map before you apply, and use the mitigation estimate form to estimate the mitigation fee. No more waiting for June-October gopher inspections to see if you need a federal permit. Permit decisions will be fully in county hands, and can be made year-round. 

Two Main Things about HCP Permitting

  1. Projects Must Be Designed Using Best Management Practices 
    Design your project using the HCP Best Management Practices outlined in the HCP (starts on page 1 of Appendix C, which is page 230 of the PDF document) because the County’s federal permit from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service requires it. If HCP BMPs are not used to the fullest extent possible, the County will likely ask for revisions to your site plan.
  2. Mitigation Fee is Based on Size of Impact
    Mitigation fees are based on how much HCP habitat your project impacts. Impact a lot, pay a larger fee. Impact a little, pay a smaller fee. Your plans affect your mitigation fee. 
Three separate images to show impact area for HCP. First has short driveway, small house, and says, "Impact: 1/4 acre: $". Second has larger house with a shed: "Impact, 1/2 acre: $$". Third has long driveway, large house, and shed placed far from the house: "Impact: 1 acre $$$$".

Basic HCP Permit Process

  • Projects on properties with mapped HCP soils go through the HCP permit process. 
  • The County will visit the project property to make sure County maps match real-world conditions, but visits will happen year-round. 
  • The County will check site plans for use of HCP Best Management Practices. If not used to the fullest extent, revisions will likely be requested because the County's federal permit requires this.
  • HCP mitigation fees will be calculated by County staff based on final submitted site plan and project materials, when and if the HCP goes into effect. 
  • Permitted projects will get a Certification of Inclusion to show coverage by the County’s HCP & Federal Permit. 
  • Other County permit application processes and regulations apply.

Contact Information

  • For current application requirements and information, go to the County's permit website called the Building Development Center (BDC).

Learn About Project Design BMPs & Permitting Under the HCP

An umbrella with the HCP logo and text "Request an HCP Presentation for your group or organization."