The state legislature updated the Shoreline Management Act of 1971 in 2003. As part of the update, they are requiring Washington's Department of Ecology to work with jurisdictions like Thurston County to update shoreline building codes at local levels.
They also provide grants to counties that update their SMP. Thurston County received a grant which funded much of the work. Read more in DOE’s Frequently Asked Questions about the Shoreline Master Programs (PDF). Or in DOE's Shoreline Permitting Manual: Guidance for Local Governments (PDF).
The code updates fall broadly into four main areas:
In addition to the BoCC, citizens are encouraged to participate. Also participating, is the Thurston County Planning Commission (a citizen advisory group appointed by the BoCC), a Community Stakeholder Group, and a Regulatory Group.
Once the Board of County Commissioners is satisfied with the draft, they will adopt it and submit it to the state's Department of Ecology who is authorized by the state legislature to have the final review and approval authority. Read the law WAC 173-26 for details.
Read Washington's Shoreline Management Act of 1971.
Read about the 2003 shoreline update in the final bill report Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1933 (PDF).
Read the Washington State Legislature's Shoreline Master Program Guidelines.
Learn more on the Department of Ecology's shorelines web pages.
Read a Discussion by the Department of Ecology about No Net Loss of Ecological Function (PDF).