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[Portal ID #1949]

Commerce Update of Critical Areas Guidance

Summary of the project

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, programs and technologies will be addressed in this update to Commerce guidance on critical areas regulation. 

Commerce sent out a survey to local planners and consultants to assess county and city needs for guidance on this topic. We will use input from the survey, a technical advisory committee, and a local government sounding board to scope the content of this guidance update to best fit the needs for cities and counties. Results of Local Government CAO Update Survey


Critical Areas Handbook - Two New Draft Chapters for Review

Two new draft chapters have been posted on the Draft Documents tab for public review. Draft Chapter 4 addresses Critical Areas and Other Laws and Regulations. Draft Chapter 6 provides information on non-regulatory incentive programs for critical areas protection and restoration. Public comment on these two chapters is due on June 1, 2018. If you would like a Word copy of either of the chapters to comment using track changes, please contact Heather Ballash at heather.ballash@commerce.wa.gov.

Chapters 1 - 3 and 7: The public comment period on Chapters 1- 3  and 7 closed on April 30, 2018. The draft chapters are still available to view on the Draft Documents tab.

Updated Critical Areas Checklist (February 2018) - You can also use the updated expanded critical areas checklist for critical areas regulations review. 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

The Final Version of the updated handbook will be posted on the Commerce Critical Areas website at the end of June 2018.

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.


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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