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Commerce Update of Critical Areas Guidance

Summary of the project

Latest News: 
Public Review Draft Chapter 5: Protecting Critical Areas in Natural Resource Lands is now available for public review.

Commerce is updating the original 2007 Critical Areas Guidance/Handbook. The new 2018 Handbook will address the following:  Wetlands rating system, Voluntary Stewardship Program, agricultural activities, FEMA Biological Opinion, availability of LiDAR, monitoring and adaptive management, a salmon recovery roadmap, and other new issues. 

Public Review Draft Chapter 5: Protecting Critical Areas in Natural Resource Lands

The public revew Draft Chapter 5 is ready for your review and comment.  The document can be found in Draft Documents after clicking on the LIbrary tab above.  Please send comments to: scott.kuhta@commerce.wa.gov by October 12, 2018.  Scott is on leave through mid-October, so please contact Dave Andersen if you have questions about the draft chapter (dave.andersen@commerce.wa.gov). 

Status: Chapters 1-4 and 6-7 Completed

To date, Chapters 1-4, and 6-7 have been finalized and can be found on Commerce's Website via: 2018 Critical Areas Handbook.  Original draft chapters can be viewed on the Draft Documents tab. Early on Commerce conducted a survey of local planners and consultants to assess county and city needs for guidance on this topic. We used that input from the survey, a technical advisory committee, and a local government sounding board to scope the content of the guidance update to best fit the needs for cities and counties. Results of Local Government CAO Update Survey.  

Draft Chapter 5 due to be completed by the end of November

Chapter 5 of the Handbook on Protecting Critical Areas in Natural Resource Lands, is still being finalized and should be available early fall 2018.  In the interim, we recommend planners utilize the existing 2007 Critical Guidance Handbook to obtain guidance on Protecting Critical Areas in Natural Resource Lands.

Updated Critical Areas Checklist (February 2018) 

Commerce recenlty updated the Critical Areas Checklist which can be found on Commerce's website and via critical areas checklist . The updated checklist includes links to state agency sources of Best Available Science, with dates for when the science was produced.

Critical Areas Handbook – Final Version

Once Chapter 5 has been updated, The Final Version of the entire handbook should be completed by Fall 2018 and posted on the Commerce Critical Areas website .  

Critical Areas Monitoring and Adaptive Management Workshops - 2018

Commerce, Ecology and WDFW conducted a series of workshops around the state in early 2018 to provide tools for and get feedback from counties and cities on how to build local and state monitoring and adaptive management programs for protecting critical areas. The workshops reviewed a new draft chapter in the Critical Areas Handbook, showed how state High Resolution Change Detection Data can help local governments, shared a number of local approaches, and explored challenges and solutions to implementing such a program.

Approximatley 230 people participated in the workshops in Poulsbo, Mount Vernon, Seattle, Olympia, Vancouver, and Moses Lake with positive reviews. The local government and other presentations generated rich conversations around the barriers and solutions to developing and implementing effective monitoring programs.

 

Pictures
Bull Trout       Courtesy of USFWS
Bull Trout Courtesy of USFWS
Sage Grouse in Shrub Steppe
Sage Grouse in Shrub Steppe
Peninsula Poulsbo Workshop 1=18-18   Why Monitor Exercise
Poulsbo - Why Monitor?
Mount Vernon - Resources/Challenges
Seattle Workshop - Peer Consultation
Seattle Peer Consultation
Olympia - Peer Consultation
Vancouver Peer Consultation
Vancouver Peer Consultation
Moses Lake Peer Consultation
  
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