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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 17, 2016
Contact:
Brad Murphy, Senior Planner at (360) 754-3355 x4465 or murphyb@co.thurston.wa.us

Public Hearing On Critical Areas Ordinance Revisions
Thurston County will take public comments on a proposed change to its wetlands code.

OLYMPIA - Thurston County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on March 22, 2016 to take comments on a proposed update to Thurston County's wetlands code which sets standards for wetland mitigation, buffers and categorization. The hearing will begin at 3 p.m. in room 280, Building One of the County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502.

The proposed update will incorporate changes from Washington's Department of Ecology (DOE) 2014 Wetland Rating System for Western Washington which adds a high, medium and low scoring methodology to the wetlands rating system worksheet. The worksheet is used by consultants and County field staff when evaluating a wetland area.

The proposed update will not change buffer widths nor will it affect how permits are processed. Neither will it make any change to the regulations for agricultural activity. It will only amend Chapter 24.30 of Thurston County's Code by updating terminology and the wetland function scoring method. The change is being proposed because the County's code (Section 24.30.025 TCC) requires the use of the most recent version of the DOE wetland rating system.

The high, medium and low scoring method was added to the scoring worksheet by DOE so that the rating system better reflects what scientists have learned in the last decade about how wetlands function and how best to protect them.

To learn more about the County's Wetlands codes and the proposed change, please visit the County website at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/planning/docket/docket_home.htm and scroll down to section A4. To learn more about the Washington State Wetland Rating System for Western Washington, please read the document from the Department of Ecology https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/1406029.pdf.

The public may provide comments in person during the meeting or submit them, in writing through email to murphyb@co.thurston.wa.us, or by regular mail to Brad Murphy, Resource Stewardship Department, Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, 2nd Floor, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, Washington, 98502. All email and regular mail must be received by March 22, 2016 at 1:00 P.M. to the staff contact listed above, or provided at the public hearing.

If you need special accommodations to participate in this meeting, please contact the county commissioners' office at 360-786-5440. Citizens with hearing impairments may call the TDD line at (360) 754-2933.

If you have questions about this proposed change, you may contact Brad Murphy, Senior Planner in Thurston County's Resource Stewardship Department at (360) 754-3355 x4465 or murphyb@co.thurston.wa.us.



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County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3